Pictured: Virginia Delegate Margaret Vanderhye
Thank you to Margaret Vanderhye who represents the 34th District in the Virginia House of Delegates for sending the following letter in support of creating an Office of the National Nurse to Congresswoman Lois Capps (23-D), Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus.
February 24, 2009
The Honorable Lois Capps
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Dear Congresswoman Capps,
I am writing in strong support of the initiative to create an Office of the National Nurse. As the public health demands of the 21st century become more evident, the need for a national focus on health is clear. In particular, our country needs to promote preventive health, not only in policy but in practice. Our large and diverse nursing workforce is an existing resource that can quickly be mobilized to advance the important work of prevention. An Office of the National Nurse would help develop and implement the policies and programs necessary achieve such a mobilization.
As I understand it, we would not need to add additional staff or funding to establish the office. Congressional action is needed to formally bestow the unique title of National Nurse on the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in order to provide the status, authority and public recognition necessary to lead large scale prevention efforts and shift to a culture of prevention in US healthcare. Designating the existing CNO, who also serves as Assistant Surgeon General, and elevating this position to a full time status within the Office of the Surgeon General provides a pragmatic and cost effective solution.
The Office of the National Nurse would complement the important work of the Surgeon General and would also provide input at the federal policy table on a number of valuable initiatives such as:
* Bolstering efforts to focus the public on healthy living;
* Providing greater support to the Surgeon General in calling for improvements in health literacy and reduction in health disparities;
* Providing leadership to network with existing volunteer health promotion efforts;
* Encouraging participation of nurses in Medical Reserve Corps units;
* Serving as a visible national spokesperson for professional nursing;
* Increasing public awareness of nursing roles and contributions;
* Intensifying roles for nurses, including students and retirees, in community health promotion;
* Strengthening linkages with providers, nursing programs, and public health leadership;
* Supporting and justifying additional funding for nursing education, research and service.
The establishment of the Office of the National Nurse would set a new standard for a more accurate and realistic recognition of nursing's importance to health and healthcare in the United States. You have my fullest support for the legislation you have introduced to create an Office of the National Nurse.
Delegate Margaret Vanderhye
Virginia House of Delegates, 34th District
The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, March 16, 2009