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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.