National Nurses Week 2012

Nurses and Health IT Initiatives

In 1954, 100 years after Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea, the first National Nurse Week was observed in October. In 1974, the International council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed Florence Nightingale’s May 12th birthday as “International Nurse Day”. Then in 1982 the American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as National Nurses Day and was acknowledged by a joint resolution of the US Congress.President Ronald Reagan then signed a proclamation proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982. It was in 1990 when the ANA expanded the recognition to a week starting on May 6th and ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12th. Read ANA’s account of the history of the week.

A statement from the ANA is “calling attention to registered nurses (RNs) and their contributions to the health care system, both in the role they play as expert clinicians in diverse care settings and as leaders who can dramatically influence the quality of care and overall performance of the system into the future. The public wants leaders they can trust — and nurses consistently rank at the top of a respected annual poll as the most trusted profession.”

Every four years the US Health Resources and Services Administration conducts a National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses The most recent is 2008. See the ANA fact sheet.

  • There are 3.1 million licensed RNs, of whom 2.6 million are actively employed in nursing
  • 62.2% of employed RNs work in hospital settings.
  • The profession has grown by 5.3 percent since 2004, a net growth of more than 150,000 RNs.
  • Nearly 450,000 RNs, 14.5 percent of the RN population, received their first U.S. license after 2003.

Health IT supports one of the strongest tenets of nursing — educating the patient and family. The ANA has launched and participated in several Health IT initiatives:

  • Developing standardized nursing languages
  • Nominating nurse leaders to federal Health IT committees and workgroups
  • Developing position statements on Health IT initiatives, policy, and standards
  • Participating in Health IT alliances, including the Alliance for Nursing Informatics, American Medical Informatics Association, and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
  • Developing educational products that support the consumer eHealth campaign of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
  • Coordinating expert panel summit meetings to establish quality measurement models for inclusion in electronic health records

Read the statement from HHS Secretary Sebelius in Honor of National Nurses Week.

Tune in this Friday at 2:30 Eastern/1:30 Central to Voice of the Doctor with Dr. Nick van Terheyden. Dr. Nick’s guests this week are Karen Kirby, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FACHE  and Kathy Douglas, RN, MHA. Dr. Nick will be talking about nurses and their impact in the healthcare system, the rise of the Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) and the current project they are both working on Nurses the Movie: An in-depth exploration of the complexity, challenges, sorrows and joys of being a nurse, seen through the voices and lives of nurses today. Learn more about this program.

Thank a nurse this week.