National Nurses Week takes place every year from May 6th to 12th. It is often a week filled with mixed feelings for nurses, especially as nurses face unprecedented levels of burnout, moral injury, and institutional betrayal.
Despite these ongoing struggles, many healthcare facilities are doing away with Nurses Week, instead replacing it with Hospital Week. Administrators argue that all healthcare workers deserve to be celebrated, not just nurses. However, many nurses feel slighted by the change, calling it an insult to the profession.
Administrators seem to forget that there are weeks that celebrate other hospital professionals including,
Phlebotomy Week: February 12-16th
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week: April 23-29th
Medical Assistant Week: October 16-20th
Housekeepers Week: September 10-16th
CNA Week: June 15-21st
NP Week: November 12-18th
MD Week: March 25th-31st
While most healthcare systems do not celebrate all of the healthcare workers during their “weeks”, surely the largest workforce within a hospital should have its own dedicated week. Or at best, shouldn’t hospital week be moved to another week during the year?
National Nurses Week as we know it today was established in 1990. It begins on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
Attempts to create a day of recognition for nurses date all the way back to the 1950s. These efforts were often inhibited by government obstacles, but eventually, National Nurses Day was officially recognized by the United States Congress on May 6, 1981. From there, the American Nurses Association expanded the period of nurse recognition into a week-long celebration in 1990.
The purpose of Nurses Week is to recognize and honor nurses for their irreplaceable role within healthcare and society. So why are some employers getting rid of Nurses Week?
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), Hospital Week was celebrated from May 7th to May 13th and the theme for 2023 was #WeAreHealthcare – recognizing the amazing people who work in America’s hospitals and health systems. Hospital Week was actually designed to recognize the hospitals and the work they are doing.
Nurses have taken to social media to share their thoughts on Nurses Week being replaced by Hospital Week.
Nurse Blake had a few remarks to share about the name change,
“Changing the name of nurses week further removes hospitals from recognizing nurses, who remain the largest workforce in healthcare. With nurses still being understaffed, dealing with moral injury, and unhealthy work environments this move doesn’t help the profession or the community when turnover and nurses leaving the profession is at an all-time high,” Nurse Blake
Nurse Blake also posted an Instagram Reel parodying hospital administrators as they attempt to switch their organization from Nurses Week to Hospital Week.
“Changing the name of nurses week further removes hospitals from recognizing nurses, who remain the largest workforce in healthcare. With nurses still being understaffed, dealing with moral injury, and unhealthy work environments this move doesn’t help the profession or the community when turnover and nurses leaving the profession is at an all-time high,” Nurse Blake told Nurse.org.
Lots of nurses shared Blake’s sentiments in the comment section of his video.
“Of course it’s hospital week. We don’t have anything special just for us anymore. But they have pharmacy week, EVS week, RT week,” wrote one user.
Another user commented, “Ours is ‘employee appreciation week’. Heaven forbid the nurses (the ones who really keep the hospital running) get their own week.”
Blake isn’t the only one speaking out. Other nurses have also expressed their displeasure with the shift from Nurses Week to Hospital Week on social media.
One Tiktok user, @nurse.lala, posted a video discussing how her new employer celebrates Hospital Week instead of Nurses Week.
@nurse.lala Nurses Week or Hospital Week??? What are your thoughts??? #nursing #nurselife #scrublife #rn #adn #bsn #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #nursesoftiktok #nursesofinstagram #medsurg #travelnurse #nursesweek #nursesweek2023 #nursingschool #nursingstudent #futurenurse #newgradnurse ♬ Cumbia Buena – Grupo La Cumbia
“I’m used to having a separate, independent week just to celebrate nursing. And I just think the profession, our profession, my profession that I’ve been a part of for the last 17 years is worthy of that,” she says in the video.
She goes on to say, “We spend the most time with patients, we really carry the hospital system. And I am certain that we do it heavily. Everyone is important, yes. But nursing is the most trusted profession and the ones who spend the most time with patients deserve their own week.”
The comment section was agreeable, with users saying they were experiencing similar circumstances at their own workplaces.
Another TikTok user, @softlifenurse, posted a video about the Nurses Week vs. Hospital Week dilemma.
In the video, which is captioned “They stole nurses week, yall!”, she describes the switch as a “slap in the face.”
“There are many other weeks in the year that you guys could have used to appreciate all of your employees,” she says in the video.
Lots of commenters agreed, with one user describing the replacement of Nurses Week as “cheap” and “tacky.”
Nurse.org is celebrating nurses all month long! Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for your chance to win cash, scrubs, and other prizes!