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Thank you to Sibyl Shalo Wilmont, an emergency department nurse, independent health care journalist, and an MS, Community/Public Health Nursing-MPH candidate, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing and the City University of New York School of Public Health, New York, NY for writing a story about the National Nurse Act of 2013 that was published in the November 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. This article was recently re-printed by Medscape.
This four-page story highlights the enthusiasm behind the campaign for a National Nurse for Public Health despite the many important differences from the original 2006 legislation. Two recent findings affirm that it is even more compelling to pass this legislation as soon as possible. The first comes from the ADA website (released in 2013) reporting that in 2012, the most recent year that statistics were collected, 25.8 million Americans who were diagnosed with diabetes now cost $245 billion for the care they received. This means that each of these individuals requires $9,500 in care each year. An additional 79 million Americans are at risk for developing diabetes and if health promotion programs under the guidance of a National Nurse for Public Health could prevent just 1% of those from developing this disease, this could save our country $7.5 billion.
Another research study, led by Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and other institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health, found the percentage of American children and adolescents ages 8 to 17 who have high blood pressure-- a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, organ damage, heart attacks, and strokes climbed 27 percent over 13 years. Now more than ever, nurses must continue to be proactive in their communities to curb preventable diseases. H.R. 485 helps to keep nursing in the forefront by asking the National Nurse for Public Health to be a visible presence and work to engage nurses and other health professionals to replicate successful health promotion programs in their local communities.