The recent concern for a possible “swine flu” pandemic along with the announcement that “Healthcare” is President Obama’s top priority for the next 100 days, and the fact that this year’s National Nurses Week (May 6-12) theme is "Nurses Building a Healthy America" sets up a ‘perfect storm’ of opportunity.
Nurses everywhere can take a simple action to make a big difference for the public and our profession. Simply WRITE a letter! The same strategy that worked for Florence Nightingale so many years ago, facilitated by technology, can be even more effective today especially if the response comes from nurses everywhere.
Imagine the impact of thousands of letters from nurses across all specialty areas united and in agreement that the time for a National Nurse is now!
Send a quick letter in support of creating a National Nurse to your legislators, to a major national newspaper and/or to your local community newspaper, or to your nursing organization’s newsletter. Email it, or snail mail it, but DO IT!
A template is provided below that includes information on how Americans could benefit from an Office of the National Nurse (ONN). Four state legislatures (Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont) have already passed resolutions on a grassroots initiative calling for Congress to designate the existing Chief Nurse Officer of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) to be the country's National Nurse.
This popular proposal is simple, pragmatic, and cost-effective. An ONN could unify, inspire and engage nurses to respond in emergencies and to promote prevention. Rather than hearing President Obama or a member of his Cabinet describe the importance of hand washing to the public, a visible and highly respected National Nurse, who is familiar to the public and represents the most trusted health profession, will be much better suited to deliver prevention messages that our nation desperately needs to curb epidemics. These include not only communicable diseases, but also preventable chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes that cost our country trillions of dollars each year.
Nurses promote healthy behaviors as a cornerstone of care, no matter what setting they work in. Our nation’s 2.9 million nurses are licensed, knowledgeable health professionals and are present in every community. Many are bicultural and span broad and diverse community populations.
What better way to observe National Nurses Week that to take action to honor our country's nurses and support creation of an Office of the National Nurse? For more information visit http://nationalnurse.org
. Here is a link
to locate your elected US Representative and Senators. Template:
Dear ______________________________(Legislator or Editor)
As a nurse, concerned about the health of our nation, I see the recent events centered on the H1N1 (Swine flu) as another valid reason to create an Office of the National Nurse. (http://nationalnurse.org
Coupled with the extensive current activities to revise healthcare and the fact that National Nurses Week’s (May 6-12) theme is “ Nurses Building a Healthy America,” this is the opportune time for legislative action to create an Office of the National Nurse in Washington DC.
The potential of the nursing workforce to improve our nation’s health is too great a resource to waste. The nation needs, and all nurses deserve, a prominent National Nurse leader to partner with the US Surgeon General who will offer guidance to coordinate the contributions nurses can make year round to improve the health of our nation. Supporters of this concept suggest that Congress elevates and expands the role of the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS to serve in as National Nurse, as a cost effective move that avoids unnecessary duplication.
The movement to create a National Nurse is an important initiative with potential for tremendous positive impact in improved health outcomes and cost savings in healthcare. It also validates the contributions of nursing and provides respect and year round appreciation our valuable nursing workforce. I hope others feel the same and will visit http://nationalnurse.org
to become active supporters.
The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Friday, May 01, 2009