Sponsor of H.R. 1651 in the 115th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30
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In response to the Medscape Nurses February 28, 2017 article, ‘Strong Evidence’: Obesity Directly Linked to 11 Cancers NNNO Board Director Audrey Griesel Byrnes BSN, RN, PCCN-C writes, “Obesity is a precursor to many diseases and the overall solution is prevention. Additionally, obesity should be a public health concern, which has become a chronic and costly condition but yet it largely preventable. This is why legislation for a National Nurse for Public Health is so important. Our nation needs to shift towards preventive measures to slow the growing epidemic of preventable conditions that become chronic conditions. If one condition, such as obesity, were to be prevented, there would be a reduction of type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular conditions in addition to cancers like those described in this article. A National Nurse for Public Health positioned alongside the Surgeon General can help lead education to promote health awareness. Please become familiar with this forward thinking legislative topic at http://nationalnurse.org .
Supporters of the National Nurse Act often ask what they can do to support this bill. Some are entering the political arena as a first-time nurse activist. One of the most effective and easiest ways one can advocate for any piece of legislation is by personally visiting your U.S. Representative’s and Senators’ district offices that often are located very close to where you live. Constituents who have visited their elected officials in the past have been very successful in gaining their support to co-sponsor H.R. 1651/ S. 1106.
Case managers and nurses residing in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Texas have contacted the NNNO for tips and a packet of information that can be printed and presented to staffers. Thanks to Joan Westgor and Danny Gusme, both leaders in the Case Management of Society of America Alamo Chapter who recently visited the Congressional district offices of Representatives Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) and Joachin Castro (TX-20).
DURING NATIONAL NURSES WEEK, MERKLEY STANDS UP FOR NURSES WITH BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE
Bills would update nursing workforce programs and create a National Nurse for Public Health
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This National Nurses Week, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley [merkley.senate.gov] is standing with nurses in Oregon and across America by introducing bipartisan legislation to support nurses and strengthen the nursing profession.
Merkley on Thursday introduced the National Nurse Act of 2017 and the Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2017, both with bipartisan support. The National Nurse Act is co-led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and the Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act is co-led by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Merkley, whose wife works in Oregon as a registered nurse, also introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), officially honoring May 6-12 as National Nurses Week.
“As the husband of a nurse, I hear firsthand about the challenges and successes that come with working on the frontlines of our health care system,” Merkley said. “Every day, nurses take on difficult, essential, and often thankless tasks that keep our health care system running and that have a huge impact on the patient experience. Each of us has a story about the nurse who made all the difference at a frightening or difficult time for our families. I’ll keep fighting to improve federal policy to fully recognize and support the essential role of nurses in our health care system, and I invite all Oregonians to join me in recognizing the tremendous work of our Oregon nurses this National Nurses Week.”
The National Nurse Act of 2017 (S. 1106) The bipartisan National Nurse Act of 2017 would elevate the role of nurses in America’s public health by designating a National Nurse for Public Health.
The National Nurse position would be created by transforming and elevating an existing position within the U.S. Public Health Service, the Chief Nurse Officer. Similarly to the Surgeon General, the National Nurse for Public Health would help raise awareness among the American public about disease prevention and healthy living. The position would provide leadership by a publicly visible nurse who would collaborate with other health care leaders to address health disparities and set goals for improved public health. Nurses represent the largest single component of the health care profession with more than 3.3 million registered nurses. With a National Nurse for Public Health providing a uniting voice and national leadership, American nurses’ power to transform their patients’ lives and to improve public health outcomes would be even greater.
Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and obesity pose the single greatest threat to the health of Americans and a serious threat to our nation's economy. Nurses provide key services for the prevention and management of these conditions. The National Nurse for Public Health will promote prevention; help improve outcomes; and guide national, state and local efforts in addressing the nation's health.
The National Nurse Act of 2017 is supported by the American Nurses Association, AFT Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, the Case Management Society of America and 105 other national and state nursing organizations and key stakeholders.
The National Nursing Network Organization would like to congratulate Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N on her recent appointment to Acting Surgeon General. Prior to her current role, RADM Trent-Adams served as Deputy Surgeon General, and before that as the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS from November 2013 through May 2016. RADM Trent-Adams brings experience as a highly qualified and accomplished nurse with a long record of public health advocacy. Throughout her career, she has maintained a strong focus on underserved populations. We are fortunate to benefit from her expertise as a nurse leader and public servant during the process of nomination and confirmation of a Surgeon General.
Out With the Surgeon, In With the Nurse, published last week in Medscape Nurses, describes how this historical appointment came about. Those advocating for the National Nurse Act of 2017 would like to make the National Nurse for Public Health a household name-the same as the Surgeon General.
National Nursing Network Organization President Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE was interviewed for this article. "The National Nurse Act will ensure permanence that the Chief Nurse is designated as the National Nurse for Public Health," she explained. "This increase in stature and visibility will help messages being generated by the Office of the Surgeon General reach the nation's 3.6 million nurses. This cadre of nurses can then disseminate health promotion and prevention messages within their own communities, with the vision being a decrease in health disparities and costly chronic preventable conditions that plague our nation."
Thank you to Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-D) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV-R) for introducing S. 1106 The National Nurse Act of 2017on May 11, 2017. Supporters of this legislation were particularly thrilled because the timing of introduction fell during National Nurses Week!
We are excited to begin making progress for this bill in the Senate. The NNNO Board and Advocacy Team looks forward to hearing from individuals who wish to request co-sponsorship from both of their U.S. Senators. Email the Board for information.