Meaningful Ways to Celebrate National Nurses’ Month

Posted on May 2, 2020

by Jan C

May is National Nurses’ Month

If you haven’t already, take time to express your gratitude to the nurses in your life during National Nurses’ Month. Traditionally, National Nurses’ Week was celebrated from May 6 to Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12; however, the American Nurses’ Association expanded the event this year and well it should.

2020 is International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

If you miss the month’s activities, this entire year has been declared the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization in honor of the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birthday and the continuing dedication and professionalism of nurses everywhere.

Celebrate the Nurses in Your Life

Even though we are sheltering at home, we can do things to express our appreciation:

  • Make thank-you signs and put them in your windows at home or in your car
  • Say thank-you on social media
  • Sew, donate and wear masks according to directions
  • Follow the news and abide by your state’s health guidelines
  • Read books and listen to audiobooks written by and about nurses to understand the burdens they carry and the joys they experience

If you are reading or listening to books, the Toledo Library’s eMedia provides for exactly that. Below are a few resources from our digital collection – all free to access with your Library card:


Cover of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between

Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Betweenin Catalog

By Theresa Brown

An excellent firsthand account of critical care by a new nurse, who also happens to be a former English professor at Tufts University, a frequent New York Times contributor and a clinical faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Whew! At less than 200 pages, those of us having trouble focusing during the current health crisis will find Brown’s clear style immensely readable.

Cover of The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives

The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Livesin Catalog

By Theresa Brown

Also highly recommended is Theresa Brown’s 2015 detailing of a twelve-hour shift on a teaching hospital’s oncology ward. Brown’s recent New York Times op-ed piece on how hospitals threaten employees who speak out about working conditions is further evidence of her expertise and engagement.

Cover of Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Islein Catalog

By Mary J. Macleod

Mary J. MacLeod, her husband and their young sons traveled to a remote Scottish Island in the Hebrides and were so charmed that they decided to stay. She became the island’s district nurse and her stories, whether charming, humorous, or startling, will certainly beguile those who love Masterpiece Theater series.

hoopla Digital

by Christina Leaf

From the familiar vaccination experience, to a discussion of what makes a good nurse, this straightforward easy reader introduces children to nursing and nursing practice. Complete with a glossary of unfamiliar terms and further resources to explore, this colorful reader, part of the Community Helpers series, is heartily recommended for lower elementary children.
Florence Nightingale
by Shannon Zemlicka

This easy chapter book about Florence Nightingale’s life and contributions is part of the On My Own Biography series. The illustrations remind one of beloved children’s illustrated classics, like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, and they add historical context to the scenes described. A welcome edition for elementary age children who would like to make a difference in life when they grow up.
Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse
by Catherine Reef

This nuanced biography, for young adults and adults, looks beyond the legend to tell of a complicated person who defied Victorian expectations and changed health care forever. Florence Nightingale has been called, The Lady With the Lamp, and is often pictured as an angel walking between the cots of wretchedly injured soldiers, but she was also the founder of modern nursing, a tireless and uber-capable administrator, and a demanding autocrat.
Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not
by Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale used statistics in her campaign to improve nursing and patient outcomes in military and civilian hospitals. She argued that nursing was more than the administration of medicines and the application of poultices. Nursing involved the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, adequate and proper diet, and once those needs were universally met, then the symptoms of disease could be studied and treated. Highly readable and vigorously argued, this slim book lays out the foundation for modern nursing, holistic medicine, and modern healthcare.

Learning Express Library – Career Preparation

So you’re ready to start working for a career as a nurse? Is it your calling? Check out Learning Express Library in the Research section of the library’s website to help you prepare for the following nursing exams:

  • ATI TEAS Nursing School Entrance Test
  • Nursing Assistant/Nurse Aide Certification

Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition

If you’re already in the nursing field, check out Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition. This database provides full text articles from nursing journals and other medical disciplines. We all need academic stimulation to support our practice and keep us on those front lines day in and day out.

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