International Nurses Day 2021: when is the awareness day, best quotes - and this year’s theme explained

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated International Nurses Day since 1965

International Nurses Day takes place every year, celebrating the work of nurses around the globe.

But when does it take place, what is this year’s theme and what are the best quotes to mark the event?

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The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated International Nurses Day since 1965 (Photo: Shutterstock)

What is International Nurses Day?

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated International Nurses Day since 1965.

People around the globe come together to celebrate the lives and work of nurses, with online events, social media campaigns and a different theme each year.

When is International Nurses Day 2021?

International Nurses Day now takes place on 12 May each year.

In January 1974, 12 May was chosen as the date to celebrate the occasion due to it being the same date as the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

What is this year’s theme?

The theme for the 2021 resource is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead - A vision for future healthcare.’

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) said: “In 2021, we seek to show how nursing will look into the future as well how the profession will transform the next stage of healthcare.”

When the theme of this year’s International Nurses Day was announced last October, Annette Kennedy, ICN President, said at the time: “This global Covid-19 pandemic has shown the world the important role that nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan.

“While there has been significant disruption to healthcare, there has also been significant innovation that has improved access to care.

In 2021, we will focus on the changes to and innovations in nursing and how this will ultimately shape the future of healthcare.”

How can I get involved?

The Royal College of Nursing RCN said that on International Nurses Day 2020, they are showcasing “what it means to nurse and how our members have led patient care during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

You can explore the RCN’s case studies of “incredible members and nurses” on the website.

You can also join their ‘In Conversation with Nursing Pioneers’ event at 5.30pm (GMT) on 12 May with RCN Fellows.

Alternatively, you can mark the day on social media by downloading the Nurses' Day Twibbon and using the hashtag #NursesDay.

Best quotes to mark the day

‘The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses’ - Carolyn Jarvis

‘Every nurse was drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, to serve, or to help’ - Christina Feist-Heilmeier, RN

‘Nurses are there when the last breath is taken, and nurses are there when the first breath is taken. Although it is more enjoyable to celebrate birth, it is just as important to comfort in death’ - Christine Bell

‘As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul, and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel’ - Maya Angelou

‘Nursing is one of the fine arts: I had almost said “the finest of fine arts’” - Florence Nightingale

‘Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around’ - Leo Buscaglia

‘Being a nurse means to hold all your own tears and start drawing smiles on people’s faces’ - Dana Basem

‘Bound by paperwork, short on hands, sleep, and energy…nurses are rarely short on caring’ - Sharon Hudacek