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Nurses Month: A time for celebration

By: Lillee Gelinas, MSN, RN, CPPS, FAAN Editor-in-Chief

Inspire and be inspired.

Nurses Month shines a spotlight on nurses—those who devote their lives to caring for others. This year, it couldn’t come at a better time as we begin to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Nurses Month 2020 was meant to be the grandest of celebrations. The World Health Assembly had designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to honor the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and to advance nursing’s vital role in transforming healthcare around the world. But the quickly spreading COVID-19 emergency turned our focus from celebration to caring during the crisis. As a result, the ANA Enterprise joined with the World Health Organization and global colleagues in extending the Year of the Nurse and Midwife into 2021.

While this month honors all nurses, other national and international celebrations occur during the same time: May 6 is National School Nurse Day, May 8 is National Student Nurses Day, and May 12 is International Nurses Day as designated by the International Council of Nurses.

Inspiration to fuel our celebration

To fuel personal, organizational, and professional focus on this important and well-deserved commemoration, here are a few words of inspiration I’d like to share with you. After all, we all inspire each other. As Florence Nightingale wrote in Notes on Nursing, “Let us each and all realizing the importance of our influence on others—stand shoulder to shoulder—and not alone, in the good cause.”

  • At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam… And with steam you can power a locomotive. [This] beautiful, uncomplicated metaphor…reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences. – Sam Parker
  • Courage is fear holding on a minute long­er. – General George S. Patton
  • It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that [we can never] help another without helping [ourselves]. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • What happens when you believe something with all your heart? Belief fuels enthusiasm, and determined enthusiasm explodes into passion. It fires our souls and lifts our spirits. – Mac Anderson
  • Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. – Walter Elliot
  • Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe

And from Florence Nightingale…

  • The world, more especially the hospital world, is in such a hurry, is moving so fast that it is too easy to slide into bad habits before we are aware.
  • I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse. Yes, I do see the difference now between me and other men. When a disaster happens, I act and they make excuses.
  • It is a noble calling, the calling of Nurses but it depends on you Nurses to make it noble.

I learned much during my two visits to the Florence Nightingale Museum. Unfortunately, the loss of visitors and low revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the museum to close for now. Let’s hope that the situation changes so we can experience the full impact of this remarkable woman’s life. In the meantime, I encourage you to access resources available on the museum’s website at

Happy Nurses Month, colleagues.

ringing new year lillee signature



Lillee Gelinas, MSN, RN, CPPS, FAAN


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