January 6: Day of the Nurse in Mexico

This date has been celebrated since 1931 thanks to a former director of the Hospital Juárez México, in Mexico City, José Castro Villagrana.

The World Health Organization designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse”

Nurses have been a pillar of the health system for more than a century. 

At the international level, the world celebrates nurses on November 12th, so why is it celebrated on January 6 in Mexico?

The nurses in Mexico are unconditional support for hospitals. They are the ones who verify the health status of a patient and follow up with the doctors in any clinical situation.

In 1931, the then general director of the Juarez Hospital, José Castro Villagrana, said that this medical staff was like a “gift from the Three Kings for all hospitalized patients,” and for their colleagues, the doctors. Since then this phrase continues to echo and for that reason, January 6 is “Day of the Nurse” in Mexico.

José Castro Villagrana

Nursing in Mexico, a profession that needs to be valued

Unfortunately, despite Villagrana’s good intentions, almost one hundred years after 1931, in Mexico only a little over 350 thousand people practice this profession, which represents an imbalance, taking into consideration that Mexico has more than 128 million inhabitants.

According to data from INEGI and the National Autonomous University of Mexico UNAM, each year around 20 thousand future nurses graduate who will work in the different public and private hospitals, clinics, and health centers across the country, putting the health of the patients before their own.

As the COVID-19 crisis showed us, although this courageous and honorable work is worthy of admiration, statistics indicate that only 33 percent of Mexicans see Nursing as a dignified and respectable way of life.

In addition, in the last four years (2016 to 2020) Mexico had a reduction in its nursing staff , which is why it was recorded that for every one thousand inhabitants there are only 2.2 nurses in service.

This figure is four times lower than that recommended by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, which recommend setting a minimum of six to eight patients per nurse for a good medical service.

Nurses are fundamental to a hospital, as their hard work is vital to preserving the patients’ health.



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