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Pictured: Elizabeth McPhee RN and Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE
The National Nursing Network Organization was honored to participate in a Congressional Briefing last month hosted by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-D), Congressman Pete King (NY-R), and American Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals.
The objectives of the briefing were to:
• Highlight impact of chronic disease, health disparities and health illiteracy within U.S.
• Discuss reports calling for increased efforts for health promotion and prevention.
• Explain the tenants of H.R. 379.
• Review changes in current bill language.
• Request support and answer questions.
Two presenters at the briefing were NNNO President Teri Mills and NNNO Director Elizabeth McPhee whose presentation emphasized the costly, chronic, preventable conditions that are bankrupting our nation’s healthcare dollars. Mills and McPhee conveyed the overwhelming evidence demonstrating the critical need to boost health promotion and prevention efforts as well as answer the public demand for increased leadership in nursing.
Kelly Trautner, Director of the American Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals
Kelly Trautner, Director of the American Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, concluded the briefing. Her speech also highlighted the critical role the Chief Nurse/ National Nurse for Public Health, the US Public Health Service, and Medical Reserve Corps currently fulfill with emergency preparedness.
Healthcare professionals and the public are demanding accurate information from a credible and trusted source. Nurses need and deserve timely answers to their questions so that they can provide safe care protecting themselves and their patients. Despite lessons learned from recent serious global epidemics of communicable diseases such as Ebola, measles, and influenza there is still no single, recognized public health nursing leader to provide accurate education, guidance and reassurance for both health professionals and the public.
H.R. 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015 adds an innovative, pragmatic solution to engage nurses to take the helm of this movement.
The briefing was well attended by members of supporting organizations as well as staff from many Congressional offices. Special thanks to the staff from Congresswoman Johnson and Congressman King’s offices and also to AFT Healthcare for their tremendous help, support, and generosity.
Pictured: Elizabeth McPhee RN (Director, NNNO Board); Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY-22); and Shevaun German BSN, RN
Nurses from Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia returned to Capitol Hill last month for to advocate for the National Nurse Act of 2015. During their two and a half day stay, these supporters visited directly with 36 staff members and dropped off packets of information to an additional 40 House and Senate offices. It was by far, one of the most ambitious trips yet to Washington DC and the NNNO is grateful to all who participated.
Pictured: Elizabeth McPhee RN; Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1); Shevaun German BSN, RN; and Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE
Pictured: Shevaun German BSN, RN; Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7); and Elizabeth McPhee RN
The NNNO heard these comments frequently repeated during our meetings with Congressional staff:
1. “We appreciate that the bill is cost neutral.”
2. “Having the Chief Nurse Officer/National Nurse for Public Health prepare a biennial report on the activities of the Nurse Category of the PHS Commissioned Corps is a good idea.”
3. “This bill is non-partisan and easy to implement”.
4. “Your advocacy team is one of the most prepared and organized on Capitol Hill.”
5. “The recent Ebola epidemic and measles outbreak are examples of why a National Nurse for Public Health is timely and overdue.”
In Our Congressional Priorities recently published in the North Dallas Gazette, Congresswoman Johnson writes, “The new session of Congress provides an exciting opportunity to renew the focus on resolving the numerous challenges we face in our Congressional district, and in our nation. In addition to improving the types of treatment and availability of healthcare, I will reintroduce the National Nurse Act. This critical piece of legislation will designate the Chief Nurse Officer, an existing position in the U.S. Public Health Service, as the National Nurse for Public Health. The person who assumes this role will work with healthcare officials to address health disparities and establish goals for improving our nation’s public health.”
The National Nurse Act of 2015 currently has bipartisan support from 9 co-sponsors. This list includes Congressmen Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Don Young (R-AK-At Large), Richard Hanna (R-NY-22), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM-3), Bobby Rush (D-IL-1), and Congresswomen Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-9), and Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3).
Use the Take Action links found at http://nationalnurse.org to locate your U.S. Representative. There you will find a template letter and phone script that can be easily edited to help you to contact your elected official. Please encourage them to sign on as a co sponsor to the National Nurse Act of 2015, so that we can keep the momentum growing for this legislation.
Thank you to National Nursing Network Organization's Advocacy Team member Vivien Mudgett RNC, MA, MSN who wrote A National Voice for Nurses.
This article passionately describes H.R. 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015 and explains why a National Nurse for Public Health would benefit nursing and improve public health. Mudgett states there are only five nurses in Congress, yet there are over 3.1 million registered nurses work in the United States. The expertise and voice of a pubic health nurse is needed in the public policy arena. Mudgett concludes, “It is time to raise public awareness of the value that nurses bring to the table, isn’t it?” The NNNO and supporters of the National Nurse Act of 2015 agree!