Capital Area Chapter Blog

American Red Cross

Recognizing our Nurses: National Nurses Week

A note from Sharon A. R. Stanley, PhD, RN, RS, Chief Nurse and Director, Disaster Health and Mental Health and Vivian Littlefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, National Chair of Nursing:

Nursing has been and continues to be an integral part of the American Red Cross…The work of America’s 3.1 million registered nurses to save lives and maintain the health of millions of individuals is the focus of this year’s National Nurses Week, celebrated annually May 6-12 throughout the United States.

The American Red Cross supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through its State Nurse Liaison Network, representing over 20,000 nurses in our organization in positions of disaster response, preparedness planning, and leadership responsibilities.

 Annually, National Nurses Week begins on May 6, marked as RN Recognition Day, and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. Traditionally, National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses, the largest health care profession, are working to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to the halls of research institutions, state legislatures, and Congress, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of American society.


In honor of National Nurses Week and RN Recognition Day, registered nurses in our organization are encouraged to wear their official Red Cross Nursing Pin during the week.


The Scope of the American Red Cross Nurses Recognition – compiled by Pat Ameling, Senior Volunteer Advisor, National Awards and Recognition…

In 1964 the first nursing awards were given to ten American Red Cross volunteer nurses. The award, announced at the commemoration of Delano Day, was named in memory of Anna Medcalf Estabrook, who had requested the establishment of a method to recognize the outstanding volunteer service of the Red Cross nurses. In 1968 the name was modified to honor Ann Magnussen, a nurse who made valuable contributions to the nursing and health-related professions, nationally and internationally.  In 1992, the Jane Delano Award was named for the founder of Red Cross Nursing and health Services and the founder of the nurse enrollment program, and was presented to paid or active reserve staff nurses. In 2007, this award was combined with the Ann Magnussen Award to continue recognition of those who strengthen and improve Red Cross programs and advance the continuing involvement of nurses in the organization.  The names of the recipients of the Ann Magnussen and Jane Delano awards can be found under the Past Recipients listings on the Participate in Award System section of CrossNet.

Frequently Asked Question: Why are nurses so important to the American Red Cross?

Nurses have always been a cornerstone for the provision of services by the American Red Cross.

 Historically, Red Cross nurses have provided their assistance during times of disaster and conflict beginning with the 1889 Johnstown floods and the 1888 Yellow Fever epidemic. The Red Cross Nursing Service was formally established by Jane Delano in 1909. Red Cross nursing has also had a major role in the historical evolution of nursing and nursing leadership in the United States with many Red Cross nurses, including Jane Delano, Clara Noyes, Julia Stimson and others playing strategic roles in the development of American nursing…

Nurse Involvement Today… More than 20,000 nurses continue to be involved in paid and volunteer capacities at all levels and in all service areas throughout the American Red Cross. These activities consist of:

  • Providing direct services: e.g. local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), Health Fairs, volunteer in military clinics and hospitals, promoting blood collection team, first aid stations
  • Teaching and developing courses: CPR/First Aid, Automatic emergency Defibrillator(AED), Disaster Health Services, Nurse Assistant Training, Babysitting, Family Caregiving
  • Acting in management and supervisory roles: including Chapter and Blood Services region executives
  • Functioning in governance roles: local board member to national Board of Governors

Learn more about…

For more information on how you can become involved in the American Red Cross, please contact the Chapter at 850-878-6080 or and visit our website!

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2010 by in Volunteers.

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