New York State Department of Health Honors 350,000 Nurses in Observance of National Nurses Week, May 6 - 12

2024 National Nurses Week Theme is 'Nurses Make the Difference'

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 8, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health today announced the observance of National Nurses Month and National Nurses Week, May 6 - 12, 2024. Additionally, Governor Kathy Hochul has issued a proclamation honoring New York's nurses for their dedication to patient care. On May 11, multiple landmarks and bridges across New York will be illuminated in blue to honor nurses. The Empire State has more than 350,000 nurses working as registered professional nurses, licensed practical nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives across all health care settings statewide to ensure the best health outcomes for patients.

"We recognize and thank New York State's nurses for their commitment to their patient's health and wellbeing, and we will continue to work with Governor Hochul to find new ways to expand our workforce," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Nursing is a wonderful profession that is professionally and personally satisfying, affording opportunity, flexibility and satisfaction like no other profession."

The American Nurses Association (ANA) chose "Nurses Make the Difference" as this year's National Nurses Month theme to encourage nurses, health care professionals, employers, community leaders, and the public to recognize and promote the vast contributions and positive impact of nurses worldwide.

New York State is taking steps to attract new professionals to join the field and to honor nurses currently working in the field.

In the FY23 budget, the Department created the New York State Nurses Across New York (NANY) Loan Repayment Program, designed to help train and place registered professional nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) in underserved communities, in a variety of settings and specialties, to care for New York's diverse population.

The NANY Loan Repayment Program makes funds available to help recruit RNs and LPNs and encourage them to remain in medically underserved areas of the state. Funding is provided in exchange for a nurse's commitment to work in an underserved area for a three-year period (NANY service obligation period).

The Department's Workforce Innovation Center was created to support long-term health care workforce needs. The Center is in the process of developing an information- and data-gathering strategy to inform policy recommendations. Additionally, the center is awarding $22.5 million in grant funding with the focus on training the next generation of health care professionals. To date, 28 contracts have been awarded and generally focus on increasing the supply of nurses statewide.

Since 2020, the Department has been advancing legislation and policy to increase staffing levels and support nurses throughout New York State. The Department will continue to work with health care providers, nurses' unions, and stakeholders to ensure appropriate and safe staffing.

Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the NYS Healthcare Workers for Our Future Scholarship. This new scholarship program provides a two-year, full-ride scholarship to approximately 500 New York State students seeking to earn their associate or bachelor's degree for several professions including Registered Nurse. The scholarship supports and empowers future health care workers who are committed to providing critical health care services in under- and unserved communities throughout New York State. Selected recipients will receive a scholarship for up to two years of full-time study at any SUNY, CUNY, or New York State accredited college in an approved associate or bachelor's degree program.

Last year, Governor Hochul signed legislation (A3076-A/S447-C) into law, strengthening New York's health care workforce by permitting nursing students to complete up to one third of their clinical training through simulation experiences, allowing for more-qualified and practice-ready nurses to enter the workforce. She also approved a law expanding a COVID-era executive order that allowed nurses and physicians to operate in New York without an in-state license.

This work builds upon the state's ongoing efforts to bolster the New York's health infrastructure through key initiatives, with the 2022 goal of increasing the state's health care workforce by 20 percent over five years.

The American Nurses Association's celebration of National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday. Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing and is credited with expanding roles for women in the workforce.

For more information about National Nurses Week please visit here.

These 14 landmarks and bridges will be illuminated in blue on May 11:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Moynihan Train Hall
  • Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park