Years ago, I began my career as a hospital public relations intern. My responsibilities included promoting National Hospital Week which occurs each year in May. I really tried to make the general public aware of this momentous occasion, but I eventually realized that no one outside of the hospital really cared. I was disappointed that my well-written news releases failed to convert that week into a newsworthy event.
Over time I discovered that almost every hospital professional (except for PR interns) had a day or week designated in their honor. For example, National Doctors Day is celebrated on March 30.
National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, the birth date of Florence Nightingale. During that week there is a National Student Nurses Day and also the globally-celebrated International Nurses Day. To further complicate things, each subspecialty within nursing has a special day or week—emergency nurses, gastrointestinal nurses, oncology nurses, pediatric nurses, cardiovascular nurses, neonatal nurses, perianesthesia nurses, nurse anesthetists, operating room nurses, IV (infusion) nurses, neuroscience nurses, school nurses, ad infinitum.
Oh, and don’t forget about the national days and weeks recognizing pharmacists, physical therapists, dietitians, occupational therapists, food service workers, respiratory therapists, social workers, home health providers and medical transcriptionists.
Red Cross Month begins today
March was first proclaimed Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since then, every president has designated March as Red Cross Month. This is a time when we hope to remind everyone about the work of the American Red Cross. We also want people to understand how we depend on public support to help people in need.
So, as you celebrate Red Cross Month, please don’t be distracted by March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, Super Tuesday, Earth Day, Daylight Savings Time and the beginning of Spring (the vernal equinox). Furthermore, please don’t be sidetracked by those hapless PR interns who have been assigned the task of writing news releases to educate you that March is also:
- Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month
- National Caffeine Awareness Month
- National Collision Awareness Month
- National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
- National Craft Month
- Deaf History Month
- Dolphin Awareness Month (Go Chiefs!)
- National Endometriosis Awareness Month
- National Ethics Awareness Month
- National Eye Donor Month
- National Feminine Empowerment Month (Wonder if I could raise enough money to launch a Masculine Empowerment Month.)
- Foot Health Month
- Frozen Food Month
- National Furniture Refinishing Month
- Gardening Books Month
- Honor Society Awareness Month
- Humane Education Awareness Month
- National Humorists Are Artists Month (Now that’s funny!)
- Improve Management Skills Month
- Irish American Heritage Month
- International Listening Awareness Month (Isn’t it ironic that it’s the same month as Deaf History Month?)
- National Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
- National Middle Level Education Month
- Music in Our Schools Month
- National Noodle Month
- National Nutrition Month
- National Optimism Month (I’m somewhat pessimistic that this will catch on.)
- National Peanut Month (Please don’t confuse this with National Peanut Butter Lovers Month which comes around in November.)
- Philatelic Society Month
- Play the Recorder Month
- Poison Prevention Awareness Month
- Preschool Education Month
- Rosacea Awareness Month
- Save Your Vision Month
- Science Month
- Social Work Month
- Trisomy Awareness Month (Without a month set aside in its honor, I would have never known this condition existed!)
- National Umbrella Month
- Women’s History Month (Sorry guys, but there’s no Men’s History Month)
- Workplace Eye Wellness Month
- Youth Art Month
Did I miss anyone? If not, let the celebrations commence!
I’m so glad we could celebrate National Caffeine Awareness Month this morning! As always, I throughly enjoyed the chance to visit with you!
I also enjoyed this blog post – it puts presidential proclamations and awareness months into perspective. Are they really newsworthy? Perhaps some are noteworthy & serve a purpose. For example, breast cancer awareness month really does create a huge spike in the number of women that go in for mammograms. I would argue that does matter & is valuable. But, I’m not really sure how anyone benefits from National Noodle Month or National Recorder Month.
For what it’s worth, I checked into how many presidential proclamations are issued to declare awarness months. President Obama alone is responsible for over 400 proclamations. He even has to issue a proclamation each year to declare Thanksgiving Day. The good news is that we might stand a good chance in having our own awareness day. They seem to be pretty easy to come by. 🙂
Thanks, Meggan, for meeting me at Starbucks to launch National Caffeine Awareness Month! Great meeting of the minds!
Like you, I question the value of presidential proclamations. I had no idea Pres. Obama has made 400 of them. Kind of dilutes the currency, doesn’t it? Neither did I know that the president has to declare Thanksgiving each year. I learned new things from your comment. Thanks for weighing in.
And why don’t we properly celebrate Adopt a Guinea Pig month? Let’s give credit where credit is due. Entertaining and well developed post, Duane!
Furthermore, I agree. PR interns and volunteers should receive recognition through a national holiday. We do the important work, navigating social media sites like Twitter and Facebook all day (solely for professional purposes, of course).
Thanks for your comment, Valerie. Glad you’re part of the Red Cross’s PR and communications team helping us promote the fact that we’re now into Red Cross Month!
Another good one, Duane. I subscribed to your Dartboard and enjoy your writings!
Oh, you forgot my favorite medical professional’s celebratory week: National Radiologic Technologist Week in November.
But on a serious note, I’m working with a health organization and some of these dates will come in handy for the blogging schedule, so thank you for that.
Natasha, thanks for reminding me that National Radiologic Technologists Week comes around in November. I completely forgot about it last year (and all previous years). This year, however, I’ll add it to my list of things to give thanks for.
By having so many different causes represented by any particular month, it actually just makes everything seem trivial.
The real debate is which of the things you listed is the most trite. I would go with Play the Recorder month, but it reminds of the movie “Clifford” therefore at least moving it up in top 20.
Anyway it is good press for these causes. I have been sharing these with friends.
Thanks, Joseph, for your comment. Glad to see you are blogging. A new post just today. Keep it up.
As you note, having so many different causes in a month adds to the clutter and even dilutes the currency. I don’t think it’s wise to invest too many resources into promoting these events. Just my opinion, though.