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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Response to Medscape Article Nurses and The Public Say It's Time for Change


“Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.”
Florence Nightingale


Thank you to those of you who have written to us and commented on the article in Medscape, Nurses and The Public Say It's Time for Change. The National Nursing Network Board of Directors wants to address some misconceptions and fears expressed by readers.

We do not need this position because it already exists.
Fact:
This position/role is not well understood by nurses or the public. The title itself would indicate a position of stature and widespread recognition, yet few can name the Chief Nurse Officer of USPHS or describe the role and responsibilities. Congressional action is needed to formally bestow the title of National Nurse on the CNO to provide the status, authority and public recognition to lead mass scale prevention efforts and shift to a culture of prevention in US healthcare. The position needs to become full, rather than half time, and focused on leading prevention efforts by encouraging all nurses and future nurses to spread prevention messages in their communities.

The ONN would duplicate services.
Fact:
This single position would focus on organizing and enhancing existing services to focus on prevention.

The Office of the National Nurse would create a new office/new bureaucracy.
Fact:
The National Nurse is an existing position, that of the CNO of the USPHS. This position would continue, and the current responsibilities of that position would continue. But, the CNO position would elevated and expanded to full time and housed in the Office of the Surgeon General.
The primary purpose of this new CNO role would be to focus and provide symbolic leadership for a cultural and philosophical shift to prevention that would occur at the local level. Nurses in every community would be encouraged to follow the leadership of the National Nurse and become locally involved as their time and energy allows in MRCs and other prevention networks.

There would be another position of ONN above the CNO, thus demoting the CNO of the USPHS.
Fact:
The CNO of the USPHS is the National Nurse. The positions are one and the same. This initiative would simply elevate that position to deserved prominence, stature and authority, thus enabling the NN to effectively lead prevention efforts.

Funding a National Nurse would deplete scarce funds available for other needs of nursing.
Fact:
Increasing the existing CNO position from half time to full time is not a significant cost, especially considering the potential return on investment via cost savings through national prevention efforts. The CNO position is funded, but we are asking for a higher pay rank (the ANA, COA, and Quad Council are in agreement and are also recommending this to happen). The ONN initiative recommends utilizing existing resources to lead and support volunteer efforts that will build MRC and other existing prevention networks, including the work of the nation's parish nurses. It does not compete for funding earmarked for nursing education or research.

The NN would drain money from existing programs.
Fact:
The ROI for prevention efforts is potentially high. The immediate costs of promoting prevention via a NN would be minimal because the concept is based on expanding existing networks, such as the Medical Reserve Corps that are already funded and functioning. Many prevention programs are already funded and would be enhanced when nurses serve as volunteer "messengers" of their programmatic materials.

If you have other questions, please email Teri .

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Wednesday, July 23, 2008  

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