About Nurses Week

Florence Nightingale Pledge
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

National Nurses Week Facts
  • There are nearly 3.1 million registered nurses in the United States. Of these RNs, 2.6 million worked in nursing and 62.2 percent of these nurses worked in hospitals.
  • Women make up 93.4 percent of all nurses working in the U.S., according to the American Nurses Association (ANA).
  • More than 50 percent of nurses have a baccalaureate or higher degree.
  • Texas had the second-highest employment level for nursing, and the Houston metropolitan area had the fifth highest as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • National Nurses Week is celebrating 62 years in 2016.
  • The American Nurses Association was founded in 1896.
  • Isabel Adams Hampton Robb was the first president of the American Nurses Association.
  • Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare proposed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower designate a day in October 1954 as "Nurse Day," but he didn't. Nurses celebrated anyway from October 11-16 in honor of Florence Nightingale's mission to the Crimea. Different nursing agencies and organizations continued to push for national recognition of nurses until 1974, when President Richard Nixon designated one week as National Nurses Week.
  • There are more than 240,400 advanced practice nurses in the United States. Of these, approximately 144,200 are nurse practitioners, 69,000 are clinical nurse specialists, 14,600 are both nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, 13,700 are nurse midwives, and 32,500 are nurse anesthetists.
  • The Congressional Nursing Caucus — a bi-partisan initiative, co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH), with 56 congressional members — was formed in March 2003. The purpose of the caucus is to educate Congress on all aspects of the nursing profession and how nursing issues impact the delivery of safe, quality care. The caucus was formed after consultation between congressional leaders and ANA.
  • Research indicates that advanced practice registered nurses can provide 60 to 80 percent of primary care services as well as or better than physicians and at a lesser cost.
  • 49 states and the District of Columbia allow advanced practice nurses to prescribe medications.
  • The January 5, 2000, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the results of a study which revealed patients fared just as well when treated by nurse practitioners as they did when treated by physicians.
  • The nation's nurses rank first for their honesty and ethics, with 82 percent of Americans rating them "high" or "very high," according to a 2013 Gallup Poll. Nurses have consistently rated first every year but one after being added to the list in 1999.
  • The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent member nurses associations, its organizational affiliates, and its workforce advocacy affiliate, the Center for American Nurses. The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.
  • A study published in the January/February 2006 journal Health Affairs provides new evidence that if hospitals invest in appropriate Registered Nurse (RN) staffing, thousands of lives and millions of dollars could be saved each year. Specifically, the study shows that if hospitals increased RN staffing and hours of nursing care per patient, more than 6,700 patient deaths and four million days of care in hospitals could be avoided each year. In addition to the immense societal benefits of adequate nurse staffing, the anticipated financial benefits of savings per avoided patient death or hospitalization may also be significant. This study is important because it highlights the fact that people suffer and die when nursing care is inadequate. It is the latest study in a growing body of evidence that clearly demonstrates that nurses make the critical, cost-effective difference in providing safe, high-quality patient care.
  • A study, published Sept. 23, 2003, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and conducted by Linda Aiken of the University of Pennsylvania, determined that the educational level of RNs working in hospitals has a significant impact on whether patients survive common surgeries. The study probed the impact not only of the numbers of RNs providing bedside care, but how the educational preparation of RNs impacts patient mortality. Among the study's most significant findings: that raising the percentage of RNs with bachelor's degrees from 20 percent to 60 percent would save four lives for every 1,000 patients undergoing common surgical procedures.