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Many thanks to the Cleveland Clinic's Clinical Nurse Specialists for inviting NNNO President Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE to keynote their annual conference, Celebrating CNS Practice: The CNS as a Bridge Builder. The hospitality extended by the host committee was amazing. Even after spending a short period of time with this group of nurse leaders, it is evident why the Cleveland Clinic is recognized for its hard work ethic and excellence in the healthcare arena. Innovation and new ideas are encouraged and supported, especially when they are focused on improving the health of our country.
How do we become a healthier nation? As Mills pointed out in her presentation, Building the Bridge to a Healthier Tomorrow, the United States spent $7,960 on healthcare per person in 2009, the most of 13 industrialized nations, and almost three times the amount spent in Japan, which has the lowest expenses of these countries. However, many medical care expenditures can be curbed through more concentrated efforts in health promotion and disease prevention.
As we begin an unprecedented federal plan to shift the nation from its present sick-care system to one based on prevention and wellness, it is critical that our nation has strong visible nursing leadership. HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011 designates the Chief Nurse Officer position within the USPHS to be uniquely known as the National Nurse for Public Health to increase visibility of this nurse. The National Nurse for Public Health will be a prominent advocate for nursing involvement in health policy and will provide leadership to generate an active and much needed community wide focus on prevention. This position will promote prevention, generate pride, stimulate interest, and sanction volunteerism by health professionals.
Americans are wise to the fact that prevention saves money and it improves the quality of their lives. Nursing is calling for more visible leadership within its own profession for health promotion and disease prevention. HR 3679 is the answer!