News & Events

MNA Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Issue ‘A Nurse’s Pledge for the 21st Century’ During National Nurses Week and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pledge modernizes the Nightingale Pledge, long recited by nurses when they enter the profession

CANTON, Mass. – In recognition of National Nurses Week, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” and the unprecedented challenges facing nurses and healthcare professionals, the Massachusetts Nurses Association has issued “A Nurse’s Pledge for the 21st Century.”

The pledge – written by MNA nurses and recited in a newly release video – is meant to modernize the Nightingale Pledge, created in the late 19th century in honor of Florence Nightingale. She is considered the founder of modern nursing and her birthdate of May 12 marks the last day of National Nurses Week each year. For decades, nurses have recited the statement of ethics and principles named after Nightingale when they enter the profession.

“With ‘A Nurse’s Pledge for the 21st Century,’ we honor our past and fight for the future of safe and ethical patient care,” said RN and MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams. “The pitfalls of corporate healthcare and the failure to prepare for a global health crisis has placed patients, nurses and healthcare professionals at greater risk than ever before. This extraordinary moment calls for a new ethical foundation for our profession.”

Watch and share a video of MNA nurses reciting the pledge:

“A Nurse’s Pledge for the 21st Century”

In fellowship with the Nurses here joined, with respect and gratitude for those who have served before me, and in faith with those who will follow, I make these promises:

I commit to Nursing as a healing profession. I will use the Science and Art of Nursing to improve functioning, alleviate suffering, and promote wholeness and integrity of being, whether cure is anticipated or not.

I will honor the Nurse-Patient relationship as the locus for healing, and enter into it unreservedly while maintaining boundaries that respect privacy and foster trust. I will maintain the ethical principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, fidelity and veracity, guarding the patient’s right to autonomy and seeking justice for all in my care. I claim the same duties and rights for myself as a condition of our common humanity.

I will collaborate with all team members to deliver the highest quality care possible, assuming and delegating tasks responsibly, observing, assessing, and evaluating the patient’s response in order to guide and revise the plan of care.

I will use technology mindfully, never forgetting that I am the primary and ultimate vehicle for assuring the patient’s safety.

I will protect Planet Earth as our home, knowing that fresh air, clean water, sunlight, nutritious food and companionship are the birthright of all and essential to the maintenance of our collective and individual health.

I will work for social justice and equity, opposing systems that support disparities and structural inequalities, and seeking to identify and eliminate my own implicit biases.

I will endeavor to mentor even as I continue to learn, to grow, and to share in the advancement of the profession I love.

And I will hold hope for the future. Above all I will heed the admonition of our Sister, Florence Nightingale, “Live life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.”

The original version of the pledge can be found at

MNA National Nurses Week PSA Videos

At the beginning of National Nurses Week, nurses on the front lines of the pandemic in every region of the Commonwealth launched a video public service announcement campaign to thank the public for their support and to urge the continuation of social distancing during this unprecedented public health crisis.

Links to these videos can be found at or on the MNA YouTube channel at

MNA Retirees for Safe PPE

Retired nurses and healthcare professionals represented by the MNA released a video message during National Nurses Week calling for improved personal protection equipment (PPE) to keep caregivers safe on the front lines of the pandemic and safeguard their families and communities from the spread of COVID-19.

More information:

See MNA COVID-19 information, including letters to Gov. Baker, position statements, videos and more at

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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.