Team member Alisa Schneider with Teri Mills in Washington, DC
Alisa Schneider, RN, MSN, CNEJoining the TeamAfter living in beautiful Alexandria, Virginia the past five years I experienced a strong pull to return home to Oregon. My work in Virginia focused on improving the voice nurses have in influencing health care policy as so many times these decisions are made without the insight of a nurse. Because I believe the nurse's primary role is to advocate for people who cannot advocate for themselves or who do not have adequate information to make reasonable health decisions, it is imperative that nurses take an active leading role at the policy shaping table. Now, although leaving my work in Virginia was very difficult, immediately upon my return I was reminded that like tall pines, innovative ideas continue to grow in Oregon. I joined the National Nurse Team and now I find myself among the most energized team of nurses, educators, and supporters ever; and this energy is focused around influencing health policy with a practical idea for improving the health of the country-The Office of the National Nurse. Health Care Costs are Illness Care Costs.Too many Americans have to live without health care services due to rising costs, and there will be no quick or easy fix for this growing problem. Prevention of illness is going to be our best defense against the rising costs of health care. In order to focus the country on the value of preventive practices it must be made a priority for our government, health care providers, and the American public. The Office of the National Nurse would support that focus by providing access to education on health issues for all Americans. Nurses consistently rank higher in public trust than other health service providers, so information and clarification about preventive health practices would likely be better received from nurses than other providers. Along with preventing illness is the need for this country to effectively respond to large scale emergency situations so those at risk do not become ill or injured from lack of adequate response. The Office of the National Nurse provides a system of providing credentialed nursing teams who work in their community, identify those community members at highest risk, and preplan for their needs in the event of an emergency. Imagine if we had only had these teams available in the Gulf region, many more lives would have been saved and many nurses who worked until they could no longer, would have had back up relief.The Road to PreventionThe National Nurse Team has been working hard to get the message out about the need the Office would fill. It has been made easier by all the support from a growing grass-roots effort, but policy influencing requires many, many supporters sharing their voice. In order to help in this effort, I want to urge you first to take a walk every day, then take a minute out of your day and :
1-Write a personal letter of support to your Representative or Senator.
2. Call the nursing organizations you belong to and tell their leaders you support legislation for a National Nurse.
3. Encourage nursing organizations/groups/individuals to write their own letters of support to Rep. Lois Capps.
4. Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers and nursing journals you subscribe to.
5. Purchase buttons and bumper stickers at www.cafepress.com/nationalnurse
6. Donate color Xerox printing for the National Nurse informational packets-drop Teri an email if you can help with this.
7. Sign up to receive the National Nurse newsletter at www.nationalnurse.blogspot.com
8. Write Teri at email@example.com with your comments, suggestions, and ideas.It would be my pleasure to hear your ideas or talk with you about the initiative! Look for future postings of "Meet Members" for an introduction to team member Terri Polick! Alisa Schneider with team member Terri Polick in Washington, DC.
The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Friday, October 14, 2005