National Nurses Week recognizes the professionals Americans trust most

Clinical Nurse Elise Ross stands in front of the nurses station central monitor for patient vital signs in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit in MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC on June 25, 2013.

Nurses consistently rank at the top of the country’s most trusted professionals. And this week, America celebrates them.

National Nurses Week begins on National Nurses Day, May 6, and concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Here are some facts about the nurses that tend to you when you’re sick — and the week that celebrates them:

How many nurses are there in the US?

There are more than 4 million registered nurses in the US, says the American Nursing Association.

What degree do you need to become a nurse?

According to the American Nursing Association, a diploma in nursing was once the most common route to becoming a nurse. But now there are various paths that one can take, as outlined here.

How did Nurses Week originate?

There were several attempts to recognize nurses annually. But it wasn’t until1993 that the American Nursing Association permanently designed a National Nurses Week to “celebrate and elevate the nursing profession.”

How respected is nursing as a profession?

For more than 15 years, Americans have rated nursing as the no. 1 most-trusted profession, says Gallup. In a poll conducted last year, Gallup found that 84% of those surveyed rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high” — above that of doctors, pharmacists and teachers.

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