Why Doesn't the U.S. Have an Office of the National Nurse?
asks American Journal of Nursing editor in chief emeritus Diana Mason in a recent article she posted at AJN Off the Charts?
Mason describes the scene, a public hearing hosted by the Institute of Medicine Initiative on the Future of Nursing. Leading off the session were two nurses, Ann Keen, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Undersecretary for Health Services, who chairs the British commission; and Jane Salvage, the lead secretariat for the commission and a former contributing editor for AJN. While being interviewed by Mason, Keen and Salvage, both said they didn’t understand why American nurses were not supporting the call for a CNO for the United States
. They went on to express support for elevating a nurse to be on par with the Office of the Surgeon General.
Mason concludes, "Our colleagues across the pond are convinced that it makes a difference to have a national CNO who is visible, proactive, collaborative, and savvy. Keen urged nurses to “have courage and take your agenda forward.” While our current priorities should probably be ensuring that Congress passes health care reform legislation this year and that any legislation includes enabling language to improve access to advanced practice nurses, we’ll soon need to focus on how to transform the care we provide to emphasize health promotion and care coordination. Let’s do it with courage and include the notion of a national chief nurse."
Susan Sullivan, NNNO Board Member, left this comment: "The grassroots group of nurses that has been working for over 3 years to establish an Office of the National Nurse in the US remains focused and determined. They continue to be optimistic because support for having a National Nurse is overwhelming when the vision is shared with nursing organizations across all areas of practice.
Opposition arose based on misinformation on the role and details of the proposal. The excellent work done by ANA and other professional nursing organizations will be supported and enhanced by having a National Nurse. Surely support for enhancing nursing’s role in improving the nation’s health would not be adversarial to any group familiar with the issues of nursing advocacy. Nurses, unite, and support having a National Nurse, because both the nursing profession and the nation will benefit."
The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, September 28, 2009