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National Nurses Day in the United States

National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6 to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society. It marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, which ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Is National Nurses Day a Public Holiday?

National Nurses Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

"Advocating, leading, caring" - the slogan of the American Nursing Association (ANA).


What Do People Do?

On National Nurses Day celebrations and receptions are held across the United States to honor the work of nurses. Among the most popular activities are banquets, state and city proclamations, and seminars. Many nurses receive gifts or flowers from friends, family members, or patients.

Public Life

National Nurses Day and National Nurses Week are observances but they not a public holidays in the United States.


May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as "The Lady with the Lamp".

National Nurses Week was first observed in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale's mission to Crimea. May 6 was introduced as the date for the observance in 1982.

National Nurses Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010ThuMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2011FriMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2012SunMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2013MonMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2014TueMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2015WedMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2016FriMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2017SatMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2018SunMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2019MonMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 
2020WedMay 6National Nurses DayObservance 

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