Sponsor of HR 379 in the 114th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30
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August 1, 2016
Dear Congresswoman Johnson:
The Texas Nurses Association (TNA) is pleased to support H.R. 379, the National Nurse Act of 2015. H.R. 379 would designate the same individual serving as the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health.
The TNA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of Texas’ 290,000 registered nurses. Our members serve in a variety of capacities, providing general and specialty care as registered nurses and advanced practice nurses (APRNs), a group that includes certified nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners. These nurses practice in a wide range of settings such as private practices, hospitals, and home health settings around Texas.
Thank you for your leadership in raising the visibility of nurses. The TNA appreciates that H.R. 379 provides for elevation in rank for the CNO, includes a report to Congress on the Commissioned Corps Nursing Category, and achieves a stronger focus on the role of the CNO in advocating for programs that address the health care demands of our nation.
We applaud the intention of H.R. 379 and look forward to working with you on legislation that strengthens America's health care system.
Jeff Watson, DNP, RN-BC, NEA-BC, NE-BC, CRRN President
Earlier this year Deans of Nursing from Northern Kentucky University, Frontier Nursing University, Murray State University, Morehead State University, and University of Kentucky met with Representative Brett Guthrie (KY-2-R) in his Washington DC office to advocate for H.R. 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015. Personal contact via a face-to-face meeting with an elected official is a very effective way to gain their support.
Meanwhile, students enrolled in the University of Texas Arlington graduate nursing program contacted the NNNO via the Contact Us form at http://nationalnurse.org. They are exploring current nursing legislation in their health policy and leadership course and decided to focus their group presentation on the National Nurse Act. Students plan an interactive class discussion and a letter writing campaign to many U.S. members of Congress representing districts in Texas.
All of this activity is making a difference. If you are interested in meeting with your U.S. Representative or Senator to urge their co sponsorship for the National Nurse Act, please email the NNNO Board for materials and talking points. We are here to help make your request a success.
Pictured: Tammy Franqueiro, BSN, RN-BC
Advocates from every corner of the country continue to garner support for the National Nurse Act of 2015 (H.R. 379 and S. 1205). Here is a summary of actions taken during the past several months:
*Students at King University in Tennessee collected signatures on sign on letters that was delivered to four TN U.S. Representatives.
*Nursing faculty at all seven campuses of Indiana University NW wrote letters to U.S. Representatives from Indiana and Illinois urging their co sponsorship for H.R. 379. Letters to the editor of local newspapers and nursing journals are also being sent to engage nursing colleagues and the public in the campaign for a National Nurse for Public Health. Thank you to NNNO Advocacy Team member Evalyn Gossett MSN, RN for her time and dedication on behalf of this campaign.
*Students enrolled in Nursing and Health Care Policy: Issues and Analysis at the University of Texas – Arlington College of Nursing taught by Joy Don Baker, PhD, RN-BC, CNOR, CNE, NEA-BC have shared the National Nurse Campaign Facebook Page with over 4,000 friends. They wrote dozens of letters to members of Congress representing districts in Florida, Georgia, California, Hawaii, Kentucky and South Carolina. Students also sent letters to the editor to nursing websites and peer- reviewed journals. Special thanks to Catherine Huber BSN, RN, CEN and Tammy Franqueiro BSN, RN-BC for their guidance and leadership in promoting this legislation.
Please contact the NNNO if you are a nursing or graduate student and wish to promote the National Nurse Act in a class project.
Thank you to the following members of the House of Representatives who recently signed on in support to H.R. 379 The National Nurse Act of 2015.
Representative Don Beyer (VA-1-D) is serving his first term in Congress. He believes that all American families should have access to quality health care and is fighting for improvements in the U.S. healthcare system, especially for the neediest populations. Representative Beyer committee assignments include Science, Space, and Technology, Natural Resources, and the Joint Economic Committee.
Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12-R) serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, additionally assigned to the Health Subcommittee. Working in a bipartisan manner, his main priorities include controlling government spending, creating jobs for middle class Americans, finding ways for government to operate smaller and smarter, and lowering taxes. He is also committed to strengthening homeland security, improving education, increasing access to quality health care, protecting veterans’ benefits, and ensuring the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare.
Earlier this month Representative Tom MacArthur (NJ-3-R) joined the growing list of co sponsors for H.R. 379 The National Nurse Act of 2015. Serving in his first term in Congress, Representative MacArthur serves on a number of committees including the House Armed Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Last year, he introduced The Excellence in Medicare Act to motivate providers to better serve seniors through performance incentives that would also reduce premiums and copays for seniors. Representative MacArthur and his wife also run In God’s Hands Charitable Foundation in memory of their daughter Gracie. This charity funds a variety of programs from helping wounded veterans to caring for children affected by AIDS in Africa.
Representative Bill Pascrell (NJ-9-D) has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City. As the co-Chairman and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Representative Pascrell has raised the nation’s awareness of the dangers of traumatic brain injury (TBI). He is a nationally recognized leader in Congress on the issue of fire safety, having proudly authored the F.I.R.E. (Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement) Act, which became law in 2001. Representative Pascrell also serves on the House Nursing Caucus.
The top priorities of Representative Adam Smith (WA-9-D) are to encourage broad-based economic opportunity by ensuring all Americans have access to a high-quality education and job-training opportunities, building a stronger transportation infrastructure, reforming our tax code, and supporting social programs that provide a bridge for struggling families to get back to work. Representative Smith is a long time supporter of the National Nurse Act. He also serves on the House Nursing Caucus.
Representative Rob Wittman (VA-1-R) serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is well-positioned to represent the needs of Virginia's First District. He has quickly earned a reputation for being an advocate for our men and women in uniform and for being a champion of the Chesapeake Bay. Representative Wittman is the Co Chair of the recently formed Commissioned Officers Association Public Health Service (COAPHS) Congressional Public Health Caucus.
The need for a nationally recognized public health nurse leader could not be greater as evidenced by the recent report from the CDC. According to MedPage Today, “the prevalence of obesity among adults in the U.S. passed 30% for this first time ever last year, according to new numbers from the CDC.” This is an all time record. Only 21% of adults met the guidelines set for physical activity. The Office of the Surgeon General is leading a call to action to “Step It Up” for walking and walkable communities. With a more visible Chief Nurse at his side, known as the National Nurse for Public Health, there is greater probability that these messages could reach our communities via the nation’s trusted messengers, our 3.4 million nurses.