The National Nursing Network Organization would like to answer some questions we have heard in regards to the Office of the National Nurse initiative
. Please also visit our Frequently Asked Questions
for more information about the proposal.How would having a National Nurse actually help nurses become volunteers for prevention in their own communities?
This is a very important question, because engaging trusted healthcare providers will help shift our nation to initiate and value prevention. The answers may lie in the value of having a highly visible and trusted public figure leading prevention, a National Nurse, who will publicly encourage, acknowledge and reward volunteer contributions. The National Nurse will not only guide prevention and suggest focus campaigns, but will evaluate outcomes and publicly recognize successful programs and deserving volunteers. We know shortages already exist in many health occupations, so is it realistic to think there will be a pool of volunteers?
Each healthcare provider will determine if, how and when they are able to participate. Nurses, no matter how busy, are nurturing altruistic persons. Nurses often step up to the plate when needed, as evidenced in disasters. Continued invitations from the Office of the National Nurse to seek nurse volunteers will result in more engagement for prevention. Also, the National Nurse will encourage the involvement of recent retirees and students, which will boost the potential pool of volunteer manpower in every community. Students will benefit from varied opportunities for learning, observations and hands-on experiences during community outreach efforts. Retirees can make significant contributions and will be able to remain professionally active, utilize their vast knowledge of resources, and receive continuing education to maintain active licensure. In some community prevention programs, modest stipends might be provided through grant funding to participating providers. What kinds of activities will a National Nurse encourage volunteers to do?
Nurses and other providers can contribute to their community prevention programs in many ways. Often they can join existing networks to strengthen effective programs specifically targeted to at-risk populations. They can strengthen education and outreach of established national associations such as the American Red Cross or the American Heart and Diabetes Associations. Some may prefer to work directly where needed with the local schools and colleges attended by their children. Others may become active volunteers for their health department or a Medical Reserve Corps unit. Others may choose to become politically active at the policy level to improve health and environmental conditions in their community. Others may serve on the Board of a local community based organization, or participate in organizing screening programs or community health fair events. As the Office of the National Nurse accumulates data on best practices, the information will be relayed to encourage replication of effective programs.
The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, August 24, 2009