Nursing Facts
Nursing Facts

31 Fascinating Facts about Nurses

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published July 16, 2022
  • Britishwoman Florence Nightingale is credited with the establishment of modern nursing practices. Before her work, nursing the sick was not seen as a respectable career.[1]
  • While the predominant practitioners of nursing have historically been female, male nursing is on the rise. As of 2021, 12% of US nurses were male, up from just 2.7% in 1970.[10]
  • While modern nursing dates back only a few hundred years, ancient Romans had a version of the profession as early as 300 CE.[10]
  • Because Catholic nuns often served as nurses, it became common for Europeans to refer to nurses as "Sister." The practice is declining, however, as more men enter the profession.[10]
  • The word "nurse" comes from a Latin word that refers to suckling infants.[10]
  • In 1925, nurse Mary Breckinridge created the Frontier Nursing Service, a Kentucky organization that sent female nurses out on horseback to care for thousands of rural patients.[5]
  • St Helena Nurse
    Both the Catholic and Orthodox churches revere beloved caregiver Saint Helena
  • Saint Helena, mother of Roman emperor Constantine the Great, is believed to have created the first nursing home for the elderly in the 3rd century AD.[10]
  • Famous male historical figures who served as nurses include Saint Basil, Saint Benedict, and William Rathbone.[10]
  • The first educator to teach nursing skills as part of her curriculum was Roman noblewoman Saint Marcella, who died in 410 AD.[10]
  • The first known visiting nurse was a Roman woman named Phoebe, who gained even greater fame as a confidante of the Apostle Paul.[10]
  • The root word for "nursing" is the same as that for "nourish," "nutrition," and "nursery."[10]
  • The first district nurse, the first educator of nurses, and two of the first founders of hospitals and hospices were all wealthy, noble-born women of ancient Rome.[10]
  • In the United States, nurses who have just graduated take an oath called the Nightingale Pledge, adapted from the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors.[10]
  • In an annual Gallup poll, nursing has been ranked as America's most honest and ethical profession 14 different times.[8]
  • Nineteenth-century nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale was nicknamed the "Lady with the Lamp."[6]
  • Florence Nightingale
    Nightingale rose to prominence within the profession during the Crimean War (1853–56)

  • There are around 3.6 million nurses in America.[8]
  • There are over 100 different areas of nursing specialization.[8]
  • There are more people employed as nurses than in any other healthcare profession.[8]
  • Early doctors, or "medicine men" in the ancient world, were often assisted by mothers, who performed the duties of a nurse.[8]
  • As of 2021, the average registered nurse in the United States made around $75,000 a year.[3]
  • State laws recognize two kinds of professional nurses: licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN).[8]
  • It is estimated that over 220,000 nursing jobs will be created in the United States during the 2020s.[3]
  • The United States American Nurses Association ended their policy of racially segregating nurses in response to the urgent need for nurses during WWII.[1]
  • Black Nurses history
    Pictured here is the 25th Station Hospital Unit of U.S. Army Black Nurses In Liberia during WWII

  • All aspiring nurses in the United States, Canada, and Australia must pass the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination, in order to practice.[8]
  • A recent ranking of the best healthcare jobs in the United States placed registered nurse at number 14 out of a list of 29.[3]
  • Professional nurses have only recently begun to perform scientific research on issues in their field.[3]
  • Registered nurses sometimes specialize in one specific disease or body part.[3]
  • Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, turned down a marriage proposal to become a nurse, in spite of her parents' objections.[6]
  • While nursing has grown more prevalent and sophisticated in South-East Asia in recent years, the World Health Organization estimates that the region will require an additional 7.6 million nurses by 2030.[7]
  • Nurses make up 59% of the world's healthcare workforce.[9]
  • Many of the black American nurses to serve during WWII were given the unwelcome task of caring for Nazi prisoners of war, rather than tending to US soldiers.[2]
  • Amazing Nursing INFOGRAPHIC
    Nurses Infographic Thumbnail

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