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Pictured June Schulte, NNNO Advocacy Team Member and Proud Grammie
NNNO Advocacy Team Member June M. Schulte from Jericho, Vermont reports,
“On March 18th, the Vermont House and Senate passed Joint Resolution 15, urging Congress to support H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. Support was so strong in Vermont’s citizen legislature that the Resolution passed before supporters even began to request to testify about it! Having supported the National Nurse initiative since its inception, this Vermont grandmother is jubilant! There may already be a Chief Nursing Officer in the USPHS, but I am not a nurse. I am a grandmother and my family needs a National Nurse for Public Health. I need someone who can be a strong advocate and supporter of our nurses who work on the front lines of healthcare, while also focusing our whole nation, average citizens included, on prevention! I have long known about our Surgeon General but had never heard of us having a Chief Nursing Officer. I am proud and so grateful that the Vermont State Legislature voted overwhelmingly to support the National Nurse Act of 2013. Having a visible, trusted nurse spokesperson who will encourage us to live a healthier life style will benefit us now, and my grandchildren in the years ahead.”
VT State Representative Kathleen Keenan RN
Thank you to Vermont State Representative Kathleen Keenan (Franklin-3) who introduced and led the passage of a joint resolution in Vermont in support of the National Nurse Act of 2013. Representative Keenan, a registered nurse, graduated from the Jeanne Mance School of Nursing in Burlington, Vermont, (Diploma, 1963); and from the University of Vermont for the Family Nurse Practitioner Program in 1976.
This resolution was first adopted in the Vermont State House and passage in the Vermont State Senate quickly followed.
Joint resolution urging Congress to support H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013 Offered by: Representatives Keenan of St. Albans City, Dakin of Chester, O’Brien of Richmond, Spengler of Colchester, and Till of Jericho
Whereas, every day, nurses provide critical health care services to individuals in hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, and doctors’ offices, and as nurse practitioners, and
Whereas, our nation continues to face an epidemic of preventable conditions and chronic diseases, and
Whereas, nurses are crucial to the promotion of preventative care by helping to inform and educate the public, and
Whereas, thousands of nurses and nurse educators live and work in Vermont, and
Whereas, H.R. 485 designates the Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Services as the National Nurse for Public Health, and
Whereas, under H.R. 485, the National Nurse for Public Health shall perform the following duties:
“(1) Provide leadership and coordination of Public Health Service nursing professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and other agencies of the Public Health Service, including providing representation for the Government of the United States at the Global Forum for Government Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers and serving as a member of the Federal Nursing Service Council.
“(2) Represent the Surgeon General and the agencies of Public Health Service in communications with groups and societies concerned with nursing issues at the local, State, national, and international levels.
“(3) Provide guidance and advice to the Surgeon General and the Nurse Professional Advisory Committee on matters such as standards, recruitment, retention, readiness, and career development of nurses employed by and contracted with agencies of the Public Health Service.
“(4) Conduct media campaigns and make personal appearances for purposes of paragraphs (5) through (7).
“(5) Provide guidance and leadership for activities to promote the public health, including encouraging nurses and other health professionals to be volunteers and developing projects that educate the public about and engage the public in prevention practices to achieve better health.
“(6) Provide guidance and leadership to encourage nurses to engage in furthering their education in order to conduct nursing research, increase the awareness of evidence-based practice, and educate future nurses.
“(7) Provide guidance and leadership for activities that will increase public safety and emergency preparedness,” and
Whereas, the National Nurse for Public Health will act to raise awareness of health issues, encourage volunteerism of nurses and other individuals, strengthen the relationship between ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼government agencies and health-related national organizations, and participate in the identification of health priorities, thus raising the status and drawing attention to the importance of the nursing profession, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly urges Congress to support H.R. 485, known as “The National Nurse Act of 2013,” or similar legislation, designating the Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health, and be it further
Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.
This year, just as in years past, our country will celebrate National Public Health Week the first week in April. Instead of having one central theme for the week, each day will focus on a different goal. The subject for Wednesday, April 9th is Get Out Ahead. This date is ideal to emphasize that prevention is now a nationwide priority. According to the NPHW website, “as the public health system evolves, there are more options than ever when it comes to preventive health measures. Public health and clinical health professionals must work collaboratively to help individuals identify and pursue the best preventative health options.”
Did you know that according to the Public Health and Prevention Fund Fact Sheet, APHA seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer? Another striking fact is that 75 percent of our health care dollars are spent treating such diseases. However, only 3-5 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention. These are points that Elizabeth McPhee mentioned during the Congressional Briefing described above.
H.R. 485 The National Nurse Act of 2013 and its companion bill, S. 1475 require minimal cost in comparison to the great potential for a strong return on investment. The increase in salary that would occur when the CNO USPHS is advanced in rank and made full time is nominal compared to the potential cost savings generated by having many nurses become active in prevention in their local communities. Be sure to mention this important point when communicating with members of Congress.
There are many tools and tips that we can all use to promote prevention on the NPHW website. Please take a look and get involved in health promotion and disease prevention efforts in your local community.
Pictured Left to Right: Sandy Summers MSN, MPH, RN; Leslie Leonard BSN, RN; Debbie Orre MSN, RN; Elizabeth McPhee RN; Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici; Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE; Elizabeth A. Leonard, MSN, MBE, RN-BC, CCRP
The Office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and The National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO) hosted a Congressional Briefing on H.R. 485 The National Nurse Act of 2013 on February 27th, 2014. NNNO President Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE and NNNO Director Elizabeth (Liz) McPhee RN were the featured presenters. Using facts and evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Diabetes Association, the Milken Institute, and the National Institute of Health, Liz provided rationale for why increased efforts for health promotion and disease prevention via a visible and recognized Chief Nurse Officer/National Nurse for Public Health is needed.
Before explaining the tenets of the National Nurse Act of 2013, Teri verified that nurse leaders are calling for nurses to have more influence in promoting wellness and preventive care. Information was then provided on how this bill is aligned with the mission of the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Prevention Strategy, and the USPHS Nursing Strategic Plan.
The briefing provided an opportunity to share important facts about the bill based on the bill language rather than rumors and misinformation. Over 86 organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of nurses and key stakeholders have now endorsed The National Nurse Act of 2013. Additionally, it is noteworthy that five state legislative bodies (OR, MA, NJ, NY, and VT) have passed resolutions urging Congress to enact this legislation.
Pictured left to right: Teri Mills, Carrie Palmer, Legislative Assistant-Congresswoman Johnson; and Elizabeth McPhee
Thank you to those who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the briefing, including Congressional Staff, members of the Nursing Community, representatives from the American Federation of Teachers and National Black Nurses Association, and supporters. The NNNO would especially like to express appreciation to the staff of Congresswoman Johnson and Congressman Peter King for their assistance in assuring the success of this event.
Thank you to Sibyl Shalo Wilmont, an emergency department nurse, independent health care journalist, and an MS, Community/Public Health Nursing-MPH candidate, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing and the City University of New York School of Public Health, New York, NY for writing a story about the National Nurse Act of 2013 that was published in the November 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. This article was recently re-printed by Medscape.
This four-page story highlights the enthusiasm behind the campaign for a National Nurse for Public Health despite the many important differences from the original 2006 legislation. Two recent findings affirm that it is even more compelling to pass this legislation as soon as possible. The first comes from the ADA website (released in 2013) reporting that in 2012, the most recent year that statistics were collected, 25.8 million Americans who were diagnosed with diabetes now cost $245 billion for the care they received. This means that each of these individuals requires $9,500 in care each year. An additional 79 million Americans are at risk for developing diabetes and if health promotion programs under the guidance of a National Nurse for Public Health could prevent just 1% of those from developing this disease, this could save our country $7.5 billion.
Another research study, led by Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and other institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health, found the percentage of American children and adolescents ages 8 to 17 who have high blood pressure-- a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, organ damage, heart attacks, and strokes climbed 27 percent over 13 years. Now more than ever, nurses must continue to be proactive in their communities to curb preventable diseases. H.R. 485 helps to keep nursing in the forefront by asking the National Nurse for Public Health to be a visible presence and work to engage nurses and other health professionals to replicate successful health promotion programs in their local communities.
Thank you Dean Bleich for your letter of support for H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013
Dear President Mills,
As we begin an unprecedented federal plan to shift the nation from its present sick-care system to one based on prevention and wellness, it is critical that our country has strong, visible national nursing leadership. That is why I write today in strong support of HR 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. Elevating the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS to full time and designating this position to be known as the National Nurse for Public Health will bring more recognition to the critical and important role nursing fulfills in promoting, protecting, and advancing the nation's health.
Chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and others pose the single greatest threat to the health of Americans and our nation's economy. Nurses have proven time and again that they are effective messengers, advocates, and mentors for healthy living and, according to a recent survey released by the International Council of Nurses, they have a strong desire to use their skills to enable individuals and communities to enhance their wellness. The National Nurse for Public Health will be a strong advocate for nursing involvement in health policy and will provide leadership in generating a stronger and much needed community wide focus on prevention.
This position will generate pride, stimulate interest, and sanction volunteerism without requiring new allocations, creating new positions or duplicating existing services. I commend the efforts and dedication of the National Nursing Network Organization in bringing the National Nurse Act of 2013 to fruition and welcome the opportunity to support in this endeavor.
Michael R. Bleich, PhD, RN, FAAN
Maxine Clark and Bob Fox Dean and Professor
Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College
Member 10M Committee on the Future of Nursing