“Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people” (credit: International Council of Nurses). Recognising the importance of the nursing profession’s role in society past and present, here we have a variety of postage stamps previously issued worldwide.
In 2020 Uruguay issued this stamp sheet to commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). Florence Nightingale was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War (1853-56), in which she organised care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople and was known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’.
Mary Jane Seacole (1805-1881) was a British-Jamaican nurse famous for nursing hundreds of British soldiers back to health during the cholera pandemic of 1850 and, later, the Crimean War. While Nightingale is often acknowledged as the pioneer of modern nursing, Seacole had learned how to administer herbal remedies and the importance of good hygiene decades before the Florence Nightingale. And although both women did incredible work during the war, Nightingale’s name lives on, while Seacole’s tends not to be as widely recognised. Jamaica produced a fine set of stamps in 2005, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mary Seacole. The stamps have portraits of Seacole at different stages of her life. The $30 stamp shows herbal remedies and medicines, the $50 has Seacole Hall at the University of the West Indies, $60 stamp depicts the Crimean War and the $70 shows medals awarded to her during her lifetime.
These stamps were issued in memory of a Colombian Red Cross nurse Manuelita de la Cruz, who died in the line of duty during the floods in Colombia in 1955.
South Africa issued two stamps in 1964 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the South African Trained Nurses’ Association (SATNA). It was established in 1914 by British nurses who helped to recruit and train nurses in South Africa. Only trained, registered nurses could be members of the association.
Taiwan, Nurse’s Day 1964. Stamp on the right includes an image of Florence Nightingale.
Egypt 1974 Nurse’s Day.
El Salvador paid homage to nurses in 1975.
In 1985 Israel issued this ‘the Nurse’ item, replete with an appropriate Bible quotation.
For Nurse’s Day in 1987 Iran produced the above stamp, which also celebrated the birth anniversary of Hadrat Zainab bint Ali, a heroic figure in the history of Islam.
The South African Homeland State of Venda, which was created in 1979 and dissolved in 1994, issued this attractive stamp set depicting nurses undergoing training at a nurses’ training college.
The above stamps from Poland were issued in 1953 in recognition of the Polish Social Health Service.
Canada issued this stamp in 1997, when its Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada celebrated its 100-year anniversary.
A multi-year series of “working environment” stamps from Austria featured nursing in 1997.
The 100th Anniversary of Finland’s Nurses’ Union was commemorated in 1998.
China, Nurse’s Day 2003.
Above, 100th Anniversary of Norwegian Nurses Organisation.
The School of Nursing at the University of Costa Rica was founded in 1917 and that country issued this stamp sheet in 2017 to celebrate the School of Nursing’s 100th anniversary.
Senegal produced the stamp sheet below in recognition of the work carried out by nurses and other health professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sultanate of Oman stamps below recognise the important work carried out by nurses and midwives.
The final two stamps, from Nevis and Armenia respectively, speak for themselves.