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Monday, April 30, 2012

National Nurses Week May 6-12, 2012

Is your US Representative signed on as a co-sponsor to HR 3679, the National Nurse Act of 2011? Visit and click on Special Interest: HR 3679 to check the most current list. If you do not see your member listed, please read on!

Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring!

National Nurses Week (May 6-12) is right around the corner. This year’s theme is “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring”. What better way to take action to a higher level than advocating for a National Nurse for Public Health? Chronic preventable conditions continue to bankrupt our country and cause an incredible amount of suffering. This is the ‘perfect storm’ of opportunity to step forward and make a difference.

Nurses everywhere can take simple steps to make a big difference to improve public health and elevate the nursing profession. Simply WRITE a letter to your US Representative asking that he or she sign on as a co-sponsor for HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011! 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. Florence Nightingale stated, “I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results” 

Imagine the impact of thousands of letters coming from nurses across all specialty areas united and in agreement that the time for a National Nurse for Public Health is now!

Send a quick letter in support of declaring the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health to your legislators, to a major national newspaper and/or to your local community newspaper, or even 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 a National Nurse for Public Health. 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 for Public Health. Additionally, 110 organizations and prominent individuals are in support of this legislation.

This popular proposal is simple, pragmatic, and cost-effective. A National Nurse for Public Health could unify, inspire, and engage nurses to promote health and disease prevention. Nurses who are familiar to the public and who represent the most trusted health profession are well 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 3.2 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 HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011? For more information visit Here is a link to locate your elected US Representative and Senators.


Dear ______________________________(Legislator or Editor)

As a nurse, concerned about the health of our nation, I work daily with patients and members of the public who could benefit from the expertise of a National Nurse for Public Health. The most recent report to come from the Office of the Surgeon General, “Preventing Tobacco Use in Youth and Young Adults” makes it even more important that there are trusted messengers to deliver the message of the importance of tobacco cessation.

Prevention was one of the earliest implemented parts of health reform because there is a groundswell of public support for prevention. 73% of Americans support investing in prevention. Coupled with the fact that the theme for National Nurses Week’s (May 6-12) is “Nurses: Advocating, Leading Caring”, this is the opportune time for legislative action to have a National Nurse for Public Health.

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 and visible National Nurse for Public Health 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 for Public Health, as a cost effective move that avoids unnecessary duplication.

The movement to create a National Nurse for Public Health 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 to become active supporters.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, April 30, 2012  

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