Sponsor of H.R. 1651 in the 115th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30
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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.
The NNNO joins the American Nurses Association (ANA) and a host of other nursing organizations nationwide in celebrating the health and wellness of nurses during National Nurses Week from May 6–12, 2017. In recognition of 2017 as ANA's "Year of the Healthy Nurse," National Nurses Week highlights the vital role for a National Nurse for Public Health as a leader for health and wellbeing among nurses.
Annually, National Nurses Week honors the life and legacy of Florence Nightingale's around her birthday. This year, we reflect on Nightingale's foundational work by recognizing that care for others starts with self-care for nurses. The ANA provides a comprehensive National Nurses Week 2017 Toolkit for recognizing nurses and elevating self-care.
In the words of clinical psychologist Christopher Germer: "Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others." During this Nurses Week, let's stop to celebrate that the amazing, life-changing work we perform as nurses begins with cultivating joy, balance and restoration for ourselves.
Over 115 national and state organizations endorsed the National Nurse Act of 2015 and their support is expected to continue for H.R. 1651 National Nurse Act of 2017. The NNNO has contacted the Executive Director and/or President of each supporting organization, sending a copy of the new bill and the Section by Section explanation. A request was made to ask permission for the NNNO to add their organization to a new Signatory Letter addressed to Congress that reflects the current legislation.
Here are a few comments from responders who granted permission to continue support: “National Association of Directors of Nursing (NADONA) would be a proud co signer!!” Sherrie Dornberger, Executive Director and Amanda Kistler, President
“Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA) would be proud to help support this.” Brian Solada RN, CFRN, CMTE, ASTNA President
“American Association of Women in Community Colleges supports this important Act.” Beverly Walker-Griffea, Ph.D. AAWCC President
"Please add support for the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC) and the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services (AADNS), our new organization. Thanks again for your work on this important issue.” Diane Carter, RN, MSN, FAAN President and CEO
"NANDA International, Inc. is proud to be a signatory on the letter supporting the National Nurse Act of 2017.” T. Heather Herdman PhD, RN, FNI CEO/Executive Director
“OCAP (Oregon Council of Associate Degree Nursing Programs) has voted unanimously in support of the National Nurse Act of 2017. I have attached a letter officially stating this. Thank you for your tireless efforts and leadership in this effort!” Doris Jepson MSN, RN President Oregon Council of Associate Degree Nursing Programs
Although there were some minor made to H.R. 1651, all parties involved believe these revisions strengthen the bill language and will help in assuring its passage. Organizations are urged to please email the NNNO Board to receive a copy of the signatory letter if you are interested in supporting The National Nurse Act of 2017. We find when organizations take the time to review and study the legislation they overwhelmingly decide to endorse it.
Here are some additional ways organizations are leading the way to promote the National Nurse Act of 2017:
The Case Management Society of America (CMSA) has retained this bill as one of their top issues to pass in the 115th Congress. Recently NNNO President Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE provided an update in a policy focused webinar that all members were invited to. Thank you to Pat Noonan, CMSA Public Policy Chair, who sent a take action email to all regional leaders urging them to reach out to chapter members asking them to call and write to U.S. Representatives urging them to co sponsor the National Nurse Act of 2017.
Also, thank you to the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses who put at an “all hands on deck” to their Illinois state group, also asking for calls and emails be sent to the Illinois Congressional Delegation.
Special gratitude to the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing, another endorsing body, requested a synopsis of the National Nurse Act with a theme of legislative action. It is found on Page 13 of the ARIN March Newsletter.
Thank you also to Jeffery Smith, M.P.P. Vice President, Public Policy AMIA - Informatics Professionals for requesting a timeline for introduction of the National Nurse Act of 2017 so as not to miss an opportunity to make a splash with this in their press when the bill was dropped.
All of these actions help to make a tremendous difference in this grassroots, all volunteer campaign.