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Suggestions for Celebrating and Elevating Nursing

Year of the Nurse 2020. Excel. Lead. Innovate. ANA Enterprise.

Your future starts now, so make the Year of the Nurse your year! We encourage you to seek opportunities and engage in activities to promote nursing excellence, infuse leadership, and foster innovation. Below are suggestions for how you can excel, lead, and innovate.


Go beyond the ordinary in 2020 and make this the year you focus on your professional and personal development.

  • Find a mentor. Is there a colleague, nurse friend, or former instructor who has useful insights to share or inspires you to be your best? Having a mentor who can help you navigate your career and offer advice could be the motivation you need to excel and advance your nursing career. ANA also offers its members a Mentorship Program. Enrollment for 2020-2021 will open in the summer.
  • Take your nursing to the next level. Do you want to build your leadership ability or improve your nursing practice? Webinars and online courses can help enhance your knowledge and give you the skills you need to succeed. Sign up for the free webinars Ten Steps to Becoming a Successful Nursing Manager or What’s Happening in Nurse Staffing?
  • Knowledge is power. Make 2020 your year for professional development. Whether you are looking to achieve your first certification, explore new ones, or renew a certification, The American Nurses Credentialing Center Certification Program lets you demonstrate your specialized knowledge and continuing competence.
  • Make self-care a priority. Join the Healthy Nurse Health Nation Grand Challenge, an initiative to connect and engage nurses, employers, and organizations around improving health in five areas: physical activity, nutrition, rest, quality of life, and safety. If you’re looking for an inspiring way to focus on your well-being in 2020, join the monthly challenges.
  • Give back to your community. Help promote the value of nursing by supporting a special health screening event in your community or volunteering at a health clinic. Consider joining a local organization that supports something you are passionate about and could benefit from your insight as a health care professional.


As a nurse you inspire, influence, and innovate — all leadership qualities. In this Year of the Nurse, commit to elevating your voice to show the influence you have as the backbone of health care.

  • Inspire the next generation. Your outreach this year is critical to engaging with the next generation of nurses and increasing workforce diversity. Visit elementary and middle schools, career fairs, community centers, and youth clubs to talk about your path to nursing and inspire future nurses.
  • Exercise leadership skills. Make this the year you learn more about how you can serve on a board of directors. Start by visiting Nurses on Boards for resources and updates on nationwide board opportunities. If you are already contributing to board leadership, inspire others to serve on boards by sharing your “bedside to boardroom” story.
  • Impact political change. In this critical election year, make a commitment to engage in political advocacy. Visit RNAction to learn how you can ensure nurses’ voices are heard by politicians. Learn more about candidates, priority issues, voter registration, and ways to volunteer on campaigns. Share what you learn with your friends, family, and colleagues. If you want to engage more in political advocacy, participate in your state or constituent nurses association’s Legislative Day and ANA’s Hill Day in June. These annual events provide the opportunity for you to share your perspective as a nursing professional and gain elected officials’ support for crucial legislation.
  • Raise your voice with the media. Share your perspective about the value of nursing and nursing leadership with your local media. Reach out to a reporter in your city who covers health issues to recommend they do a story about the “Year of the Nurse,” submit an editorial to your local newspaper, or send a letter to the editor commenting on recent coverage that would have benefited from the nursing perspective.
  • Elevate your profession. Look for opportunities to self-identify as a nurse. Introduce yourself to patients, colleagues, and members of the community as “Nurse [Last Name].” Include your RN credential on business cards, checks, credit cards, emails signatures, and more. Take every opportunity to educate others about nursing and show pride in your profession.
  • Get social. Share a week of posts on your life as a nurse. Give your social media followers a glimpse into all you do with highlights about your activities, colleagues, and nursing moments where you make a difference. When making work-related posts, be attentive ANA’s Social Networking Principles. #YON2020.
  • Inspire colleagues. Words of encouragement and random acts of kindness can make all the difference in a person’s day, especially for nurses. Share inspirational messages or a handwritten “words from a nurse” letter to give the support, encouragement, and motivation we all appreciate and occasionally need to brighten our day.
  • Celebrate the power of great nursing. Honor a nurse mentor, celebrate a nurse colleague, or thank a special caregiver, nurse friend, or family member with a contribution to the American Nurses Foundation in their name. Your donation will support innovations to make care more patient-centered, financial aid to students in need, and programs that help nurses achieve better health.


Nurses are natural problem-solvers and innovators. Innovations occur at all levels of health care and nurses can and should be at the forefront, just like Florence Nightingale, the first nurse innovator.

  • Initiate an innovation program. Nearly 70 hospitals and health systems across the U.S. are recognized for their innovation programs. If your organization has an innovation program, are there opportunities for you and your nurse colleagues to support it? If your organization does not have an innovation program, how can you start one that improves workflow, efficiency, and patient care?
  • Join or host a hackathon. Champion nurse-led innovation by participating in or organizing a platform that encourages nurses to bring their ideas to life. Live-action events such as pitch competitions or hackathons are fun ways to learn about innovation, design thinking, and even failure. Check for corporate-sponsored events, or competitions at local nursing schools or your state nurses association.
  • Share your experience. Are you a nurse innovator or aspiring visionary who wants to help build a culture of innovation? Consider sharing your ideas, thoughts, and advice in a blog post or writing an article for a nursing, health care industry, or nursing school publication.
  • Launch your idea. Do you have a nursing-led innovation you want to see through from concept to reality? Consider launching your idea at NursePitch™, a live, interactive event for nurses to compete for a chance to turn their innovation dreams into reality. There is no time like now to start planning for the 2021 competition.