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Just like any piece of legislation, the National Nurse Act is not immune to the spread of misinformation. The NNNO would like to address one misinterpretation that we have heard.
Myth: The focus on addressing social determinants of health as described within the proposed bill is conceptually confined to health education and individual behavior (downstream measures), which a preponderance of research has demonstrated is insufficient for achieving health equity.
Facts: The current duties and responsibilities of the Chief Nurse Officer are retained in the bill language. The USPHS Chief Nurse Officer is currently involved in initiatives that include focus on up-stream measures to address social determinants of health, partnerships and collaboration, health promotion and prevention, and disaster response and readiness. This will not change.
Further, the bill language highlights the National Prevention Strategy for identifying and addressing, implementing, and evaluating national health priorities. The National Nurse Act further states the encouragement of replication of successful health promotion/prevention programs and that evidence based practice will be used when educating the public on health promotion and disease prevention activities.
The National Prevention Strategy, released June 16, 2011, aims to guide our nation in the most effective and achievable means for improving health and well-being.
The Strategy prioritizes prevention by integrating recommendations and actions across multiple settings to improve health and save lives. The seven priorities listed include these social health determinants: tobacco free living; preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use; healthy eating; active living; injury and violence free living; reproductive and sexual health; and mental and emotional well-being.
Nurses base their practice and decision making on facts and evidence rather than hearsay or innuendo. This is because this integration of knowledge and experience allows us to deliver safer, more efficient, and effective care that leads to better outcomes for the patients, families, and communities we serve. If you would like to ask a question about the National Nurse Act or have feedback you would like shared, please contact the NNNO Board of Directors.