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H.R. 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015 designates the same individual serving as the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health. Increasing the visibility of this prominent nurse will help to more effectively engage nurses and health professionals to promote wellness and emphasize disease prevention in their local communities as well as respond in emergencies. As the largest sector of the healthcare workforce, nurses are poised to participate in a national movement towards improved public health. The National Nurse for Public Health would provide a uniting voice and leadership to accomplish this goal.
A Section-by-Section Summary of the bill is now posted on the National Nurse website.
Many have inquired about the differences between the current and previous version of the bill, H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. These revisions were made at the request of many leaders from within the nursing community:
1. The preamble in H.R. 379 states the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the Public Health Service (PHS) will be designated as the National Nurse for Public Health (H.R. 485 stated to establish the position of National Nurse from the same individual serving as the CNO of the PHS).
2. At the request of the nursing community, all language requesting the position of the CNO/NN for PH become full-time has now been deleted. (H.R. 485 asked that the CNO/NN for PH be full time and serve within the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG)) The position will continue as a dual appointment, currently shared between HRSA and the OSG.
3. Rank and Grade- instead of ranking the CNO/NN for Public Health to the Deputy SG (a Grade 0/8 on the GPS) language was changed so the CNO/NN for Public Health would be at the equivalent rank to the Chief of the Army and Air Force Nurse Corps and the Director of Navy Nurse Corps) also a Grade 0/8 on the GPS.
4. Outreach and education has been used in place of “media campaigns” to avoid any need for allocations.
5. An additional duty to the 7 listed in H.R. 485 is the CNO/NN for PH will prepare and publish a biennial report on the state of the Commissioned Corps of the PHS Nurse Category.
6. The focus of the addressing national priorities will now be on the National Prevention Strategy instead of Healthy People 2020. The mission of the OSG is promoting, protecting, and advancing the nation’s health and the OSG takes an active role in implementing goals and evaluating the outcomes delineated in this report.
Washington DC- (January 14, 2015) Today, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Congressman Peter King (R-NY) reintroduced the National Nurse Act of 2015 in the 114th Congress. The National Nurse Act works to move preventative health forward by designating the acting Chief Nurse Officer as the National Nurse for Public Health. This position would provide a publicly visible nurse leader who would function alongside the Surgeon General and collaborate with health care leaders to address health disparities, set goals to improve the health of Americans, and raise the profile of the entire U.S. Public Health Service.
Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity pose the greatest threat to the health of Americans and our nation’s economy. Nurses provide key services for the prevention and management of these conditions, and this legislation is necessary to support further work needed to promote prevention, improve outcomes and guide national, state, and local efforts in addressing the nation’s health. With approximately 3,100,000 registered nurses, nursing represents the largest component of the health care profession. Each day, each and every nurse is positioned to move the nation toward improved public health.
“We firmly believe that designating the Chief Nurse Officer as the National Nurse for Public Health is a common sense, cost effective step toward improving the health and wellness of our great country,” said Congresswoman Johnson. Health care professionals are poised to lead the national movement toward improving public health, and the National Nurse for Public Health would provide the uniting voice and leadership to do so.
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the highest ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas, which includes downtown Dallas, Fair Par, Kessler Park, Old East Dallas, Pleasant Grove, South Dallas & South Oak Cliff; all of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Hutchins, Lancaster & Wilmer and parts of Ferris, Glenn Heights, South Grand Prairie, Oak Lawn, Ovilla, Uptown/Victory Park and West Dallas.
For more information visit http://nationalnurse.org
The NNNO is eagerly anticipating the beginning of the 114th Congress when the National Nurse Act of 2015 will be reintroduced. We look forward to carrying the support of over 100 House co sponsors and 145 supporting organizations and prominent individuals forward.
You are all extremely important in our work to pass legislation for a National Nurse for Public Health—THANK YOU AGAIN to all of you who tirelessly provided us with advice, expertise, and support this past year! We wish you and your family and loved ones every happiness this holiday season and throughout the coming year.
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
—Theodore Isaac Rubin