This week marks National Nurses Week, a celebration that aims to recognize the value of nursing and educate U.S. residents about the role registered nurses (RNs) play in meeting the country’s health care needs.

National Nurses Week runs from May 6 to May 12 annually, starting with RN Recognition Day and ending on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who founded nursing as a modern profession. NAPH is proud to recognize RNs nationwide for the work they provide 365 days per year.

NAPH Hospitals Celebrate National Nurses Week

To commemorate nurses and their tireless effort to promote and maintain high quality care, several NAPH member hospitals held special events throughout the week.

For example, Jackson Health System in Miami held a nursing expo and a nursing workshop to highlight nurses’ work and best nursing practices. Jackson also distributed “Nurses of the Year Awards” to nurses who were selected by their colleagues from each of its patient care centers, specialty areas, satellite centers and hospitals.

Meanwhile, as part of this week’s celebrations, staff at a handful of NAPH hospitals honored their RN predecessors by wearing throwback uniforms. At Broward Health Coral Springs, nurses this week wore traditional white uniforms and caps, while RNs at Denver Health had “Retro Day” and dressed in 80s scrubs.

HHS Secretary Sebelius Honors National Nurses Week 2012

In honor of National Nurses Week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued an official statement recognizing the critical role nurses play in improving U.S. health care. Excerpts from the statement appear below.

During National Nurses Week, we recognize the tremendous contributions that nurses make to keeping America healthy. As passionate advocates, leaders and innovators for better health, America’s nurses have demonstrated their commitment to meeting the public’s health care needs.

The health initiatives called for by the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, would not be possible without our nation’s nurses. By expanding investments in primary and preventive care programs in which nurses play a vital role, the Affordable Care Act strengthens the focus on keeping people healthy and managing chronic conditions. Through the law and other efforts, the Department of Health and Human Services is working to ensure that nurses get the support and training they deserve and need to do their job.

Please join me during this National Nurses Week in thanking our nation’s nurses for the critical work they do in bringing better care and better health to all Americans.