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H.R. 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015 designates the same individual serving as the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health. Increasing the visibility of this prominent nurse will help to more effectively engage nurses and health professionals to promote wellness and emphasize disease prevention in their local communities as well as respond in emergencies. As the largest sector of the healthcare workforce, nurses are poised to participate in a national movement towards improved public health. The National Nurse for Public Health would provide a uniting voice and leadership to accomplish this goal.
A Section-by-Section Summary of the bill is now posted on the National Nurse website.
Many have inquired about the differences between the current and previous version of the bill, H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. These revisions were made at the request of many leaders from within the nursing community:
1. The preamble in H.R. 379 states the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the Public Health Service (PHS) will be designated as the National Nurse for Public Health (H.R. 485 stated to establish the position of National Nurse from the same individual serving as the CNO of the PHS).
2. At the request of the nursing community, all language requesting the position of the CNO/NN for PH become full-time has now been deleted. (H.R. 485 asked that the CNO/NN for PH be full time and serve within the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG)) The position will continue as a dual appointment, currently shared between HRSA and the OSG.
3. Rank and Grade- instead of ranking the CNO/NN for Public Health to the Deputy SG (a Grade 0/8 on the GPS) language was changed so the CNO/NN for Public Health would be at the equivalent rank to the Chief of the Army and Air Force Nurse Corps and the Director of Navy Nurse Corps) also a Grade 0/8 on the GPS.
4. Outreach and education has been used in place of “media campaigns” to avoid any need for allocations.
5. An additional duty to the 7 listed in H.R. 485 is the CNO/NN for PH will prepare and publish a biennial report on the state of the Commissioned Corps of the PHS Nurse Category.
6. The focus of the addressing national priorities will now be on the National Prevention Strategy instead of Healthy People 2020. The mission of the OSG is promoting, protecting, and advancing the nation’s health and the OSG takes an active role in implementing goals and evaluating the outcomes delineated in this report.
Washington DC- (January 14, 2015) Today, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Congressman Peter King (R-NY) reintroduced the National Nurse Act of 2015 in the 114th Congress. The National Nurse Act works to move preventative health forward by designating the acting Chief Nurse Officer as the National Nurse for Public Health. This position would provide a publicly visible nurse leader who would function alongside the Surgeon General and collaborate with health care leaders to address health disparities, set goals to improve the health of Americans, and raise the profile of the entire U.S. Public Health Service.
Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity pose the greatest threat to the health of Americans and our nation’s economy. Nurses provide key services for the prevention and management of these conditions, and this legislation is necessary to support further work needed to promote prevention, improve outcomes and guide national, state, and local efforts in addressing the nation’s health. With approximately 3,100,000 registered nurses, nursing represents the largest component of the health care profession. Each day, each and every nurse is positioned to move the nation toward improved public health.
“We firmly believe that designating the Chief Nurse Officer as the National Nurse for Public Health is a common sense, cost effective step toward improving the health and wellness of our great country,” said Congresswoman Johnson. Health care professionals are poised to lead the national movement toward improving public health, and the National Nurse for Public Health would provide the uniting voice and leadership to do so.
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the highest ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas, which includes downtown Dallas, Fair Par, Kessler Park, Old East Dallas, Pleasant Grove, South Dallas & South Oak Cliff; all of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Hutchins, Lancaster & Wilmer and parts of Ferris, Glenn Heights, South Grand Prairie, Oak Lawn, Ovilla, Uptown/Victory Park and West Dallas.
For more information visit http://nationalnurse.org
The NNNO is eagerly anticipating the beginning of the 114th Congress when the National Nurse Act of 2015 will be reintroduced. We look forward to carrying the support of over 100 House co sponsors and 145 supporting organizations and prominent individuals forward.
You are all extremely important in our work to pass legislation for a National Nurse for Public Health—THANK YOU AGAIN to all of you who tirelessly provided us with advice, expertise, and support this past year! We wish you and your family and loved ones every happiness this holiday season and throughout the coming year.
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
—Theodore Isaac Rubin
The 113th Congress is coming to a conclusion and although The National Nurse Act of 2013 did not pass, there is much to celebrate. It is especially rewarding that so many working nurses, retirees, undergraduate and graduate nursing students regularly contact the National Nursing Network Organization(NNNO) to obtain information and offer assistance. It is this grassroots altruistic spirit that has propelled the success of this campaign and we are grateful to each and every person who has participated and provided support.
The NNNO is fortunate to have a committed and enthusiastic all volunteer Board of Directors. There are now 65 activists on the NNNO Advocacy Team that include state representatives, nurse leaders, attorneys, and stakeholders. These individuals continue to use their many talents and time to encourage and gain support from their elected officials for H.R. 485 /S. 1475.
The Advocacy Team has also been busy spreading the word about this campaign through publications, presentations and social media. If you belong to Facebook, please join The National Nurse Campaign group. Sign up and add others so that they too can learn about the ongoing efforts to designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS as the National Nurse for Public Health. If you are on Twitter, follow @aNationalNurse for important announcements and updates.
The National Nurse newsletter goes out to thousands- please email the NNNO Board if you know of others who are interested in receiving these updates.
The NNNO is grateful to the many of you who sent in donations, some in the form of checks and others via recurring monthly donations through PayPal. The popular $20 campaign continued and over 150 informational packets were personally delivered to members of Congress on behalf of those who made these twenty-dollar contributions.
Another great way to support the campaign is by purchasing a mug, magnet, button, bumper sticker, or t-shirt at Café Press. We greatly appreciate this financial support to help maintain the website, mailing list, and brief travels to educate others about the need for a National Nurse for Public Health.
Each of us has our own way of defining success. Some say the measures of success are the criteria that we believe show the impact of our work.hese can be quantifiable or qualitative, but they are observable in some way. Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”.
Left to right: RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams (Chief Nurse Officer USPHS) and Katie Hall MSN, RNBC (NNNO Board Director)
There have been significant highlights and accomplishments in 2014. Chronologically, these began in the first month of the year when the NNNO was invited by leaders within the U.S. Public Health Service to attend the Change of Command Ceremony for the Chief Nurse Officer. Special thanks to Ruth Blevins RN, Executive Director of the WV State Nurses Association and Katie Hall MSN, RNBC who attended this memorable event and witnessed RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams succeed RADM Kerry Nesseler. RADM Trent-Adams is the nation’s 10th Chief Nurse Officer.
February was a particularly significant month. Under the leadership of New Jersey State Senator Shirley K. Turner, SR16, a Senate resolution urging the United States Congress to enact The National Nurse Act of 2013 overwhelmingly passed. This resolution was then introduced into the New Jersey State Assembly and it too passed on May 8th, just in time for National Nurses Week.
New Jersey joins the State Houses of Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont who have also passed similar resolutions. Special thanks to NNNO Advocacy Team members Audrey Bayer, BSN, RN, PCCN-C and Leslie Leonard, BSN, RN (Immediate Past President Greater Passaic Valley Public Health Nurses Association) who brought the idea to her attention and provided testimony to ensure passage.
Also in February Advocacy Team members and key supporters traveled to Washington DC to attend a Congressional Briefing on H.R. 485 The National Nurse Act of 2013 hosted by the Office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and the National Nursing Network Organization. NNNO President Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE and NNNO Director Elizabeth (Liz) McPhee RN were the featured presenters. The briefing was reported in Medscape for Nurses. Author Laura Stokowski MS, RN reviewed comments made by McPhee who incorporated the theme, “America is the patient and the patient is in critical condition. McPhee stressed that chronic preventable conditions, poor health literacy, and continued health disparities must be addressed. Nurses: Your Patient is America also provides a synopsis of the legislation and concludes with thoughts on whether the bill will succeed.
The National Nurse website continues to be highly touted as a top nursing blog. Throughout 2014, many groups within the nursing community have recognized this website as an important source for health promotion and disease prevention news and have chosen to include a link on their own web pages.
Nurses clearly led the way advocating for the National Nurse Act of 2013 during National Nurses Week, May 6th-12th. Thank you to Nursetogether.com and reporter Katie Morales for writing a story, Nurses Leading the Way: Then and Now, that was republished in August as Reasons Why We Need a National Nurse. Morales writes, “As modern nurses, we have big shoes to fill. We have a responsibility to follow in the footsteps of our nursing pioneers and an opportunity to lead the way in this historic movement.”
Thank you to Barbara C. Phillips and Dr. Johnetta Miner, PhD, RN, NP, AHN-BC for including podcasts about The National Act on their shows. The Health Practitioner and Sage Clinician interviews provide useful and informative facts about the legislation as well as ways listeners can get involved and make a difference.
Members of the NNNO Board and Advocacy Team returned to Washington DC in September. Often they are joined by members of other nursing organizations who are also stepping up and partnering with the NNNO to secure passage of the National Nurse Act of 2013. On September 10, 2014, the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) Leadership, Board of Directors, and Public Policy Committee, along with nearly 60 members of the CMSA case management community from various states across the country, met once again on Capitol Hill with House and Senate members of Congress. In addition to advocating for the National Nurse Act, CMSA delivered an important message regarding the critical value professional case managers add to the health care system to ensure safe transitions and quality, efficient care for the populations being served across the health care continuum.
Pictured Left to Right: Elizabeth McPhee RN (NNNO Board Director); Shevaun German BSN, RN (NNNO Advocacy Team); and Representative Pete King (NY-2)
Also during their September trip, the NNNO had the privilege of having face-to-face meetings with Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) and Pete King (NY-2), the sponsors of the H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. Additionally, it was an honor to meet with Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams (Chief Nurse Officer), and LT Chandra E. Jolley (Special Assistant to the CNO) to gain further perspective on the U.S. Public Health Service.
Thank you to Theresa Brown, nurse and author, for her provocative op/ed, Ebola will elevate respect for nurses that was published in October on CNN. Brown writes, “Nurses' work is often under-recognized. But one way that the health care community could solidify nurses' integral role would be to pass the "National Nurse Act of 2013." This bill establishes the position of a "National Nurse" who would work with and complement the surgeon general in public health campaigns, including Ebola transmission, the need for flu shots, or worries about enterovirus.
For our patients and our system to be as healthy as possible, nurses need to take that chair we're now allowed to always sit in, and be welcomed with everyone else at the health care table.”
Pictured: Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE (President NNNO)
Also in October, Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE was recognized by The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TANNA) for the work being done to designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS as the National Nurse for Public Health. Teri was chosen as the recipient of TAANA’s Humanitarian Award for 2014.