Nurses are often among the first responders in health-care crises. Here, a nurse provides care to a girl in East Timor (now Timor-Leste) in 1986.
Photograph by Steve Raymer, National Geographic
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    On May 12, 1974, the world first celebrated International Nurses’ Day, honoring the contributions nurses make to global health and prosperity. The date was chosen because May 12 is the birthday of British nurse Florence Nightingale (born in 1820), considered the founder of modern nursing.
    Nurses are often the primary health-care providers in communities around the world. The services they provide are as varied as health care itself. Some nurses provide preventative care, such as nutritional advice or vaccinations. Others may provide care for patients suffering from illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. Nurses may also treat injuries, such as broken bones or burns. Some may take responsibility for maternity care and children’s health. Still others tend to patients in the last days of life.
    Each year, a different theme is chosen for International Nurses’ Day, focusing on different aspects of health and well-being provided by nurses. The theme for 2017 is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead—Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” Earlier themes include “Closing the Gap: Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” (2013) and “Partnership for Community Health” (1998).
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    aspect Noun

    view or interpretation.

    cancer Noun

    growth of abnormal cells in the body.

    celebrate Verb

    to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.

    civilian Noun

    person who is not in the military.

    conflict Noun

    a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

    developing world Noun

    nations with low per-capita income, little infrastructure, and a small middle class.

    diabetes Noun

    disease where the body is unable to produce or regulate certain types of carbohydrates.

    emphasize Verb

    to stress or place importance on.

    health Noun

    condition of an organism's body and mind.

    health care Noun

    system for addressing the physical health of a population.

    illness Noun

    disease or sickness.

    maternity Adjective

    having to do with motherhood.

    Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Plural Noun

    set of eight goals agreed to by all members of the United Nations, concerning improving the quality of life in the developing world.

    nutrition Noun

    process by which living organisms obtain food or nutrients, and use it for growth.

    prevent Verb

    to keep something from happening.

    primary Adjective

    first or most important.

    prosperity Noun

    success or good fortune.

    rural Adjective

    having to do with country life, or areas with few residents.

    sanitation Noun

    promotion of hygiene, health, and cleanliness.

    vaccination Noun

    innoculation with a vaccine, or modified microorganism, to prevent disease.

    visible Adjective

    able to be seen.

    vital Adjective

    necessary or very important.