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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oregon Legislature Says Yes to Office of National Nurse

SJM 5 Passes Unanimously in Senate; 55-2 in House

Salem, Oregon – Today Oregon lawmakers voiced their support of SJM 5, a joint resolution urging the United States Congress to enact legislation creating an Office of the National Nurse (ONN). Oregon joins the State Houses of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York who have also passed similar resolutions.

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, also a nurse, introduced the legislation after nursing students of Portland Community College (PCC), faculty Teri Mills MS, RN, ANP, CNE and Alisa Schneider MSN, RN brought the idea to her attention. “Establishing an Office of the National Nurse offers common sense solutions to our country’s health care crisis,” says Senator Monnes Anderson. “I am pleased to be working with leaders of the National Nurse campaign to address these areas of concern in public health care.”

Representative Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) was the Chief Sponsor in the House and carried the bill on the floor. “This is a special bill for me because the effort to create the ONN had its genesis with two of my colleagues at PCC," said Dembrow. "As a nation, we need to move toward a focus on preventive care, and it's important to spotlight the role that nurses play in our health care system," he continued. "Creating an Office of the National Nurse will increase attention on these critical issues, and I was honored to carry the bill on the floor."

The intent of creating an ONN is to focus on strengthening the work of existing groups such as the Office of the Surgeon General, Medical Reserve Corps and community agencies through a more robust and modernized nursing leadership presence. Nurses are well positioned to provide this much needed change as they are 2.9 million strong, the most trusted of all health professionals, span all cultures, and are accomplished health educators.

“An ONN would possibly be the most significant way to utilize nurses’ collective vast wealth of knowledge to improve our nation’s health as we are the largest sector of healthcare and have unique skills and insights to offer,” Mills states. ”A nursing leader with the unique title of National Nurse will be a beacon for recruitment and ensure prominence for the nursing profession, as well as increase public awareness for promoting health at the national level.”

Mills introduced the Office of the National Nurse in an op/ed, “America’s Nurse”, that was published in The New York Times May 20, 2005 and reprinted later that month in The Oregonian. Schneider acknowledges “This is an Oregon born initiative and it is an honor to have our legislature support it. Nurses hold too few positions of influence at the national level and with pending healthcare reform, it is a critical that nursing’s unique input be included in policy and planning.”

The ONN would not be a "cure- all" for the problems in health care but will assure nurses are positioned to promote changes in our nation’s health systems that will emphasize prevention. ” Nurses witness daily how the healthcare system is failing the American people, including thousands of Oregonians. Eighteen other countries do better than the U.S. at reducing preventable deaths. Every year $1.3 trillion is spent on managing the impact of the 7 most common chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. 30% of the American adult population is now obese. The American Diabetes Association (2008) reports that the total estimated cost of diabetes care in 2007 was $174 billion and fifty-four million additional Americans have pre-diabetes, placing them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

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The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Thursday, March 19, 2009  

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Blogger PDX Peds Nurse 
This is wonderful news! Congratulations!!!! I'm looking forward to the NNNO's continued success with efforts to establish a National Nurse!!