National Hospital Week has been a health care tradition since 1921.
National Hospital Day was first observed on May 12, 1921, which would have been Florence Nightingale’s 101st birthday. The publicity campaign was devised by the managing editor of a trade magazine, Hospital Management, to boost citizens’ confidence in hospitals following the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic. The deadly flu caused the deaths of approximately 20 to 30 million people worldwide, including some 675,000 Americans.
The event expanded to an entire week in 1953, and today every state celebrates National Hospital Week, which is sponsored by the American Hospital Association. This annual celebration serves as a reminder that hospitals are foundations of the communities that built them and nurture them, and that hospitals serve people in every community from all walks of life. Hospitals are open 24/7, 365 days a year.