Did You Know? 15 Fun Facts about Nursing
By Jennifer Larson, contributor
It’s National Nurses Month in May, and so it’s time to celebrate nurses–past and present!
Of course, we should celebrate nurses all the time. Nurses are called, educated and trained to help people in their most vulnerable moments.
“The greatest thing about being a nurse is always being able to have an impact, whether that’s in the lives of your patients, patients’ families, etc.” said Michael Martel, DNP, RN, AGCNS-BC, an instructor with the Michigan State University College of Nursing. “But it really allows you to have a great impact in the lives of others.”
Nurses Month also gives us a great opportunity to share some interesting facts about nurses that you might or might not know. Use these for your own edification, to educate others or to gear up for those nursing trivia nights. You never know when this information might come in handy…
15 fun facts about nurses
- There are more than 3 million registered nurses working in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) put the number of RN jobs at 3,096,700 in May 2020.
- The United States is home to more than 996 baccalaureate nursing programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). About 56 percent of the current nursing workforce holds a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree.
- Three nursing schools were the first to lay claim to the principles created by Florence Nightingale, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing: New York Training School at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, the Connecticut Training School at the State Hospital, and the Boston Training School at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
- Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first professionally trained and licensed African American nurse in the U.S. She went on to cofound the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN).
- Nurses are the most trusted group of professionals in the nation. Nurses have topped the Gallup organization’s Honesty and Ethics list every year since they were included in 1999 poll, save for one year in 2001.
- You might need a new pair of walking shoes after a few months at your nursing job. A 2006 study published in MEDSURG Nursing tracked a group of 146 nurses and found that they walked an average of 4 to 5 miles during a 12-hour shift.
- The World Health Organization originally declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, as 2020 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. But then…the coronavirus pandemic happened. So, the Year of the Nurse became Years of the Nurse, as the celebration was extended to encompass 2021, too.
- Nurses have a wide array of specialties from which to choose. “From bedside care to various specialties and even policymaking, there are many different ways a nurse can make a difference and significantly impact the healthcare sector and the lives of the communities that we serve,” said Alyssa Vesey, BSN, RN, field education coordinator for Walden University’s College of Nursing.
- Some nurses go on to achieve fame in very different circumstances. For example, did you know that actresses Bonnie Hunt, Naomi Judd and Robin Quivers were also nurses?
- A great way to boost your nursing career and your earning potential is to get certified. Start researching your options with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, as well as your specific nursing specialty organization and resources like National Certification Corporation, the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, the AACN Certification Corporation, and others.
- Travel nursing is an option for any nurse who’s eager to work hard and play hard. There are thousands of travel nursing jobs available, encompassing every state in the country for nurses of all specialties.
- The median pay for registered nurses in the U.S. was $75,330 per year in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The Associated Alumnae of the United States (which later changed its name to the American Nurses Association) began publishing the American Journal of Nursing in 1900.
- The first registered nurse elected to the U.S. Congress was Eddie Bernice Johnson, who won the seat for Texas’ 30th congressional district in 1992. Now in her 15th term, she’s still serving!
- Accelerated-degree programs are making it easier for people to go into nursing as a second career. As of 2018, there were 282 accelerated baccalaureate programs, according to the AACN, with 30 more in the works.
However you chose your career in nursing, you can rest assured that you are part of a profession with a rich history. You may stay the course, you may change specialties, you may try a new nursing job, but you will always be making a difference.
“I now work in addiction,” said Luisa Vega, DNP, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC, AGPCNP-BC, a psychiatric nurse practitioner with the River Oaks Treatment Center. “I never would have imagined this is where my path would take me when I started out in cardiology. So, I’m doing something totally unexpected, but it’s so rewarding.”
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