About Hospital Week

This year's theme, "America's Hospitals: A Symphony of Compassionate Care," highlights the critical role of every hospital worker, akin to various instruments in an orchestra, uniting to create a masterpiece of care.

A Brief History

Since 1953, the week of May 12-18, 2024, has been known as National Hospital Week, an occasion to acknowledge hospitals, both big and small, and the more than 7 million people who work inside and beyond their walls. It’s a time to reflect on the indispensable role of more than 6,000 hospitals across the nation that admit over 30 million patients each year. 

National Hospital Week holds a distinguished place in the healthcare community, tracing its origins back to 1921. This observance was initially conceived as National Hospital Day, designed to rebuild public confidence in hospitals following the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. It has since evolved into a week-long celebration commemorating the enduring legacy and trust in healthcare institutions.

The expansion from National Hospital Day to a full week of celebration occurred in 1953, setting the observance in the second week of May. Congress intentionally chose this week to coincide with Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12, paying homage to her pioneering contributions to modern nursing and hospital care in the mid-19th century. This move serves to honor the founder of modern nursing and reflect on her work’s transformative impact on healthcare practices. 

Over the years, National Hospital Week has evolved into one of the nation’s largest healthcare celebrations, providing a unique opportunity to express our gratitude and support for healthcare heroes. Through various activities, this week highlights hospitals’ critical role in our lives and fosters a profound appreciation for healthcare workers’ contributions. Their dedication is particularly evident during crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and amidst significant challenges, like physician shortages, underscoring the indispensable nature of their work in ensuring our well-being.

National Hospital Week doubles as an educational platform, raising awareness about healthcare providers’ challenges. It fosters a spirit of solidarity and appreciation between healthcare institutions and their communities through public engagement in activities that celebrate hospital workers, such as volunteering and community events.

This week invites us to reflect on the history, achievements, and ongoing challenges the healthcare sector faces while honoring the dedication of our hospital staff.

Hospital Facts & Stats

Interesting tidbits about the United States hospital system.

7.3 million people work each day in a hospital 

There are 6,120 hospitals in the US; 5,129 are community hospitals.

Each year, there are about 36 million hospital stays.

The concept of hospitals dates back to antiquity, with the earliest documented institution believed to be the Temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, in Epidaurus, Greece, around 400 B.C. Patients would visit to seek cures for their ailments, engaging in a blend of spiritual and physical healing practices.

The first medical hospital is often cited as the Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital, founded in 872 in Cairo, Egypt. It pioneered in offering care to anyone who needed it, regardless of their social status or ability to pay.

The United States’ first hospital was the Pennsylvania Hospital, founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin.

In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale revolutionized the hospital system by introducing the importance of sanitation, drastically reducing infection rates.

Since 1975, there’s been a 14.5% reduction in the number of hospitals