Sponsor of H.R. 1651 in the 115th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 21, 2017
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Releases Statement After Introducing National Nurse Act of 2017
Washington D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Johnson introduced the National Nurse Act of 2017, which would designate the Chief Nurse Officer position of the U.S. Public Health Service as “The National Nurse for Public Health.” Congresswoman Johnson released the following statement describing the importance of the bill:
“The National Nurse Act of 2017 is a common-sense, cost-effective way to improve the health and wellness of all Americans. As a registered non-practicing nurse whose political career began in nursing, I know firsthand how national policy can sometimes fail or inhibit nurses working in the field,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “Therefore, establishing a National Nurse, who would work alongside the Surgeon General, would help advocate for nurses and in turn advance health care for the many Americans who see nurses every day.”
“The National Nurse could focus on the important issues of health promotion, improving health literacy, and decreasing health disparities. Nurses play a critical role in the prevention and management of our nation’s deadliest conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and opioid addiction. It is my firm belief that establishing a National Nurse for Public Health in America would save so many lives- it is a shame that we have not done so already.”
Key Responsibilities of the National Nurse:
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. In addition to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, she is also a current member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She has served on this committee since being elected to Congress in 1992 making her the highest- ranking Texan on the committee. As a longtime advocate for improved psychiatric treatment, Congresswoman Johnson co-lead and co-authored H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, provisions of which were included in the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law in December of 2016.
A link to the National Nurse Act of 2017 will be posted at http://nationalnurse.org as soon as this is available. If you would like to receive a copy of the final draft of The National Nurse Act of 2017, please email the NNNO Board.
NNNO President Teri Mills MS, CNE, RN and Vice President Elizabeth McPhee, RN are excited to share the National Nurse Act at the 27th Annual Medical-Surgical Nursing Conference April 7th, 2017 in San Francisco. They will be delivering closing remarks entitled “A National Nurse for Public Health – Trusted Leadership for a Healthier America.” The conference draws participants nationally and internationally.
Are you looking for a speaker at a conference or event? Members of the National Nursing Network organization are available to deliver keynote addresses or present at conferences to share the vital and timely role of a National Nurse for Public Health. For more information, please contact the NNNO Board.
The National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO) would like to honor Alisa Schneider PhD, MS, RN, a founding member of the NNNO, for her leadership and vision. Alisa recently stepped down from her role as NNNO Vice President after greater than 12 years of visionary leadership. Alisa’s countless hours of work engaging in advocacy, education, lobbying and research have shaped the NNNO. Alisa helped to build the strong, grassroots organization that endures today.
Congratulations to Elizabeth (Liz) McPhee RN, who will transition from the Board to become Vice President of the NNNO. Liz has been actively involved with the NNNO and National Nurse campaign since her student days at Portland Community College (PCC) when she served as President of the PCC NSNA Chapter. Liz has presented the bill during two Congressional Briefings on Capitol Hill; she has been instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the NNNO; and she has authored multiple publications on the legislation.
The NNNO would also like to recognize the valuable contributions of Terri Polick RN, also a founding member of the organization who served on the Executive Board for 10 years before transitioning to the Advocacy Team. Terri has been a passionate advocate and formative member of NNNO. Terri’s skillful writing and persuasive community engagement helped to build and grow the organization. Many thanks to Terri for her leadership and support.
Sadly in 2016 we lost two of our beloved members of the Advocacy team. Sally Jean Cadman DNP from New Hampshire first wrote to us in February 2010. She had chosen the National Nurse Act as the topic for her health policy paper and just a few short months after initially contacting the NNNO, eagerly joined the team. She advocated strongly for the National Nurse Act until her death on May 30, 2016. Our sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.
Also, NNNO Advocacy team member State Representative Marcia Moody of New Hampshire passed away on May 25, 2016. Rep. Moody’s contributions were endless in her efforts to bring the National Nurse Act to fruition. She was a trusted confidante, with a great deal of experience in the political arena. Rep. Moody spoke at conferences and political gatherings about the bill and she traveled to Washington DC over a dozen times to meet with Congressional members. We all miss her presence tremendously.
The National Nursing Network Organization is excited to welcome Holly Herrera BSN, RN as a new executive board member. With a background in primary care and HIV nursing, Holly resides in Oregon and has a passion for public health, education and organizational leadership. She currently works as Lead RN at a large university-affiliated federally qualified health center. She has experienced the vital role that nurses play in helping to manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart failure, and is excited to support a National Nurse for Public Health to improve the well-being of our nation.
Also, joining the NNNO Advocacy Team is Joan Westgor MSN, RN, CCM from Texas. Joan serves on the Alamo Chapter Case Management Society of America (CMSA) Board Member and Public Policy Chair. She is a chapter liaison to CMSA National Public Policy Committee and also is on the Advisory Board of The Patient Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
The National Nursing Network Organization is a completely voluntary, grassroots organization comprised of members just like you. 2015 and 2016 have been exciting years for the National Nurse Act. With your continued support, we are excited for the opportunities in 2017.
We are proud that the NNNO broadly represents the interests of nurses across the country. Our Organizational Board and Advocacy Team receive no compensation. Most team members hold full time jobs and passionately advocate for a National Nurse outside of other professional responsibilities.
To continue to move the National Nurse Act forward, we need your support. One of the strongest ways you can help advocate for a National Nurse is to make an on line donation or contact the NNNO Board to mail a check.
Consider a recurring donation of five or ten dollars, that will help to offset the costs of the National Nurse website and media materials and would also support travel expenses for team members to Washington DC to advocate for the National Nurse Act.
For a one-time contribution of $20, the Advocacy Team will place a certificate in your honor inside an informational packet that the team will deliver to your US Representative or Senator during the next trip to Washington DC.
Please join us in your support for a National Nurse for Public Health to strengthen the voice of nurses and protect public health in the U.S.
We can't do this work without each of you!
Disclaimer: The National Nursing Network Organization is a non-profit corporation, but we are not tax exempt and therefore, your contributions are not tax-deductible.
With the myriad of health-related concerns our country is currently facing, you may be wondering if now is the time to advocate for the designation of a National Nurse for Public Health? The answer is emphatically YES! A National Nurse for Public Health, as proposed by the National Nurse Act, would capitalize on the expertise of nurses in health promotion and prevention of chronic illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer to strengthen the health of the U.S. population.
Why is now the time for a National Nurse? The burden of chronic illness on our society continues to grow. According to the CDC website, chronic diseases account for the majority of healthcare costs in the US. Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation's health care costs (CDC, 2017). As we engage in a continued national dialogue about how to decrease healthcare costs and improved health outcomes, enhanced chronic illness management arises as a top priority. Nurses are experts in and champions of chronic disease management.
Yet, the appointment of a National Nurse would do more than improve health outcomes. In the words of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) in a recent interview , regarding the National Nurse Act of 2015, Johnson stated, "What we want to do is make sure that nurses have the proper labeling, so that they can influence at that level. The more we can upgrade nurses in decision-making capacities, the more they'll be respected for what they really are and they more utilization we can make of their talents."
The National Nurse Act's history of strong bipartisan backing offers another compelling reason to support a National Nurse at a time when political unity is increasingly rare. At the conclusion of the 114th Congress, The National Nurse Act boasted 5 Senate co-sponsors and 97 House co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, with representation of over 32 different states across the nation. These past accomplishments strongly position the National Nurse Act for passage in 2017 during the 115th Congress. The designation of a National Nurse is a relevant cause behind which we can rally in unison. Yes, the US currently faces many pressing health policy issues. Who better to navigate these healthcare challenges than a National Nurse for Public Health? Plans are already underway for the introduction of the National Nurse Act of 2017. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement!