The 12 Most Interesting Facts about Nursing: Test Your Knowledge

Picture of nurse holding clipboard

If you’re in the nursing industry as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse’s assistant or own a nurse staffing agency, you’re aware of what goes on in your industry. For example, you probably know that there is a nursing shortage in the United States. You may even know the average salary of a nurse or how large the profession is.

We’ve compiled a list of facts about nursing that you may not have known. Test your knowledge with these unique facts and statistics about nursing that might surprise you.

12 Surprising Facts About Nursing You Might Not Know

1. It’s old.

Let’s start off our list of fun nursing facts with some history. The first record of nurses dates all the way back to 300 A.D. in the Roman Empire. Nurses worked in that era’s version of a hospital, which could be found in most cities. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that nursing became more advanced and widespread.

2. Florence Nightingale shaped the profession and healthcare.

One of the most famous nurses was a British woman, Florence Nightingale. Her duties as a nurse during the Crimean War saved many soldiers’ lives. Nightingale changed the way nurses were educated and how nursing as a profession was viewed by society.

Specifically, she changed the way hospitals were sanitized, how food was prepared and served and how to treat wounded patients to prevent the spread of infection.  Her contributions to the profession were huge. Many of the practices introduced by Florence Nightingale are still used today.

3. Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing was the first nursing school.

Opened in 1873, New York City’s Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing offered a one-year program based on the teachings of Florence Nightingale. Shortly after Bellevue opened, the New England Hospital for Women and Massachusetts General Hospital opened nursing schools of their own.

4. Nurses walk a 5k every shift.

While the general population averages 2.5 miles of walking daily, nurses double that in one shift.  On average, nurses walk four to five miles every 12-hour shift they work. That’s a lot of walking.  This interesting fact about nursing proves why nurses need a comfortable pair of shoes!

5. Half of the students studying a health care related topic are in nursing.

Nursing majors represent about 50 percent of higher education students in the health care field. Because of these numbers, nursing students find a strong support system in their peers as they pursue their degree.

This percentage is a direct reflection of the industry as a whole. Healthcare systems require a great number of nurses to operate smoothly.

6. Top jobs of 2021.

According to U.S. News and World Reports, three of the top 40 jobs of 2021 are in nursing. Registered nurses are ranked #37, nurse anesthetists are #39 and nurse practitioners are all the way up at #3.

If you own a nurse staffing agency, your services will continue to be of value to nurses and facilities that need additional help. Be sure to use these stats when marketing your staffing services.

7. Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American RN.

For 15 years, Mary Eliza Mahoney worked in a hospital before becoming a nurse. She started as a cook, then became a janitor and did laundry. Mary then worked as an unofficial nurse’s aide, impacting her to become a registered nurse.

In 1878, she was one of only the three female nurses complete the New England Hospital training program. Later, she went on to co-find the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.

8. There are three million nurses in the U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were about three million nurses as of 2020. To put this into perspective, there are roughly as many nurses as people living in Jamaica.

On a global scale, there are over 28 million nurses in the world.  This accounts for 59% of healthcare professionals.

9. The field of nursing will continue growing.

Not only is the nursing field large today, it will continue to grow. It is estimated the by 2029, there will be a 7 percent growth of employment of registered nurses.

If you own a nurse staffing agency, this means you have the opportunity to grow your business as well.

10. Nurses aren’t just in hospitals.

Though hospitals remain the largest employer of nurses, the field can be found elsewhere.  Here’s a quick breakdown of where nurses work:

  • 60% Hospitals
  • 18% Ambulatory healthcare services
  • 7% Nursing and residential care facilities
  • 5% Government
  • 3% Educational services

11. National nurses week is May 6 to May 12.

This annual week to honor nurses has been celebrated for over 40 years. It even ends on the day that Florence Nightingale was born!

National nurses week was established to acknowledge the challenging job of being a nurse and to show appreciation for all their hard work. Learn more about this year’s theme and events here.

12. Many nurses are employed through a staffing agency.

Nurses work through a nurse staffing agency to help them find jobs and new opportunities. If you own a nurse staffing agency, it’s important to have the funding to keep up with the rising demand for nurses.

Want to learn more about how invoice factoring for nurse staffing agencies can help your staffing company grow?  Fill out this form or give us a call and our experienced team will get you started today!