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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Mailbox

The NNNO recently received this communication from NNNO Advocacy Team Member Sally Cadman, MS, ACNS-BC, CCRN who wrote in support of HR 4601 The National Nurse Act of 2010.

"The increasing importance of the role of government Chief Nursing Officers creates a strong reason for supporting HR 4601. The United States should follow the world’s lead and support the creation of this senior health policy role, The National Nurse", states Sally Cadman, MS, ACNS-BC, CCRN from Hollis, New Hampshire. Cadman is currently a DNP student at Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Here are some additional excerpts from Cadman’s paper, Establishing the Office of the National Nurse: HR 4601:

“I have given my name in support to HR 4601 because of my research on this bill and my review of the literature on government Chief Nursing Officers. This review of the literature helped frame my opinion that the United States needs to elevate and promote their CNO so they can advocate for nurses and patients within the international community. Although the bill focuses the majority of the role components within the nation, there is reference within the bill of role impacting the international healthcare community. This is an important role component that adds strength to the support of HR 4601. Global nursing shortages, biological threats, pandemics, natural disasters, and global healthcare reform all make the establishment of the Office of the National Nurse a more compelling priority.

Since 2001, there has been increased attention played to the role of government CNOs, mostly because of the passing of resolution WHA 54.12 by the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) (Salmon & Rambo, 2002). This resolution is entitled Strengthening Nursing and Midwifery and is aimed at increasing awareness of the global nursing shortage (Salmon & Rambo, 2002) Over 90 nurses function in high-level health policy roles in the world (Salmon & Rambo). After this WHO resolution, a formal global network of CNOs was formed and is called Government Chief Nursing Officer Network or GCNO-Net (Salmon & Rambo).

It is important to note that some of the roles outlined for the National Nurse are currently part of the United States Public Health Services CNO, Kerry Paige Nesseler’s job description. For example she recently represented the United States at the World Health Organizations Global Leadership Collaborative held in February 23, 2010. On February 3, 2010 she attended the Federal Nursing Service Council. It is unclear from her writings the depth and breadth of her interaction and ability to speak for the United States. There seems to be many more avenues for collaboration with the world community. I am unclear how the current CNO can do this in a part-time role. I see the full time Office of the National Nurse strengthening this relationship to the international community.

Change is slow. For example, after 25 years of lobbying by nursing groups, Australia appointed their first chief nursing and midwifery officer (CNMO) in June of 2008 (White, 2009). This will allow them to send a representative to World Health Organizations chief nursing and midwifery officers meeting at to the World Health assembly. This is in direct comparison to New Zealand who has embraced the position of CNO for over 100 years (Salmon & Rambo, 2002).

The time has come for a National Nurse. America needs an articulate caring, effective nursing spokesperson to collaborate within America and the world’s health community.”


Salmon, M. E., & Rambo, K. (2002). Government Chief Nursing Officers:a study of the key issues they face and the knowledge and skills required by their roles. International Nursing Review, 49, 136-143.

White, J. (2009). Austrialia Gets Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. American Journal of Nursing, 109(1), 26.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, September 13, 2010  

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