International Nurses Day, annual observance held on May 12 that commemorates the birth in 1820 of Florence Nightingale, the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. The event, established in 1974 by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), also serves to highlight the important role nurses fulfill in health care.

UNMU Celebrate International Nurses Day

When does UNMU Celebrate International Nurses Day

Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union Celebrates International Nurses Day on May 12th every calendar year to commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern-day nursing.

UNMU takes the celebrations to different districts every year and it’s voted by the delegates on where to have it. 2024 is the 19th celebration which will take place in Rukungiri Main Stadium (Rukungiri Municipality), Kigezi Sub-region in western Uganda and the Guest of Honor is H.E Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the President of the Republic of Uganda.

UNMU uses this opportunity to meet all medical workers more especially the Nurses and Midwives to forge a way forward to addressing pertinent issues affecting the health care delivery in the country.

Theme of the Celebration

 International Council of Nurses releases a new theme every year basing of the issues most currently affecting health care system in the whole world and it is determined by research.

The celebration also gives an opportunity to the best health care workers with in the country for their extra ordinary work to be awarded.

click here for 2024 theme

Register Now for the Celebrations  in  May 2024

History of the Celebration

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated this day since 1965. In 1953 Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, proposed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaim a “Nurses’ Day”; but he did not approve it.

In January 1974, 12 May was chosen to celebrate the day as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Each year, ICN prepares and distributes the International Nurses’ Day Kit. The kit contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere. As of 1998, 8 May was designated as annual 

Nightingale became an important figure in nursing in the 1850s during the Crimean War. At that time, she was stationed at the Barrack Hospital at Scutari (Üsküdar; now a district of Istanbul), where she headed a group of nurses that cared for injured British soldiers. When she first arrived at the hospital, she was struck by the desperate condition of the facilities, and as a result she imposed strict standards of care and ensured that the wards were kept clean and well stocked with food and medical supplies. Nightingale’s experiences at Scutari led her to campaign for reform in health care and nursing, and in 1860 she opened the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. The school’s success prompted the establishment of similar training schools for nurses elsewhere. Among these early institutions were a nursing school at Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary (now Sydney Hospital) in Australia, which opened in 1868 and was headed by St. Thomas-trained nurse Lucy Osburn; the Bellevue Training School for Nurses in New York, which opened in 1873 and was the first institution in the United States founded on Nightingale’s principles; and a nursing school in Fuzhou, China, which was established in 1888 by American nurse Ella Johnson and was that country’s first Nightingale-based teaching institution. These pioneering schools provided a fertile foundation for the subsequent growth and advance of the modern nursing profession.

Each year the ICN commemorates International Nurses Day with the production and distribution of promotional and educational materials. These materials are intended in part to emphasize the dedicated and innovative work performed by nurses worldwide, which is vital not only to the improvement of patient health but also to the advancement of health care on national and international levels. The materials also often serve to raise awareness of issues in the nursing profession itself, including the impact of economic factors and ongoing struggles against inadequate pay and work conditions. Through awareness and action on such factors, nursing professionals hope to fuel growth and to strengthen nursing schools’ resilience to the sporadic and sometimes precipitous declines in enrolment that have characterized admissions patterns in many countries since the mid-20th century.