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Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's In It For You?

Pictured in front of Vermont's state capitol, Carol Ringring, RN of 41 years

The campaign for an Office of the National Nurse has intensified, and every day we receive new emails and read comments on various websites in strong support of establishing this position. The Board of Directors of the National Nursing Network Organization wanted to share a part of one of these letters with you.

What's In It For You?

This was part of a description of what it was like for a nurse of 41 years to testify before the Health Committee in Vermont in support of JRH052, a resolution urging Congress adopt legislation to establish an Office of the National Nurse. This resolution went on to pass in both the Vermont State House and the Vermont State Senate.

"In dealing with the medical staff for all those years of practice at the hospital where I worked, I learned you could grab their attention if you spelled it out in a "what's in it for you" framework. So that's the approach I took with my testimony.

After introducing myself, I told them I'd be talking from my experiences from 41 years as a RN and talking from the heart. For instance, I mentioned that when I first entered the profession all those years ago, we saw gall bladder disease in (usually) middle-aged, slightly affluent individuals. When I retired, it was not uncommon to see upper teens and the twenty-something crowd with the disease. Of course, there are other factors, but one of the main ones is the nutritional choices we make over time. I thought I almost heard a collective gasp when they realized what I'd said.

Nursing recruitment is another arena in which a National Nurse could make a difference. Then to make it personal, I added, G__ forbid, you wake up tomorrow morning with a crushing chest pain. You want to go to the ED for immediate treatment. Once stabilized, you'll be transferred to Coronary Care. In your journey, you want competent, educated nurses caring for you who understand your needs and can use the technology that is available to them. While your doctor may see you for 10 minutes once or twice daily, the nurse will be with you for 24 hours a day. The nurse will monitor your symptoms and note any subtle changes. The nurse will be your advocate between you, your physician, and your health team. the nurse will know how to use advanced technology in your care. And the nurse will be there to relieve your anxieties and comfort you and your family when those needs arise.

As teachers have gained a public awareness of the importance of what they do, so nursing needs to find a similar voice.

A National Nurse can raise that public awareness."

Congratulations to June in Vermont who brought the Office of the National Nurse initiative to the attention of her state lawmakers, and to Carol Ringring RN and Debbie Orre MSN, RN (EdD candidate) who went to the hearing to testify in support. Your voices make a difference.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Thursday, May 29, 2008   Post only 

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Shine A Lantern On This

Here are two comments that were left in response to a Brockton, Massachusetts news article, Brockton lawmakers champion Office of the National Nurse
that discussed the resolution introduced by MA State Representative Christine Canavan. Please feel free to add comments of your own!

From Edgar:

"Having been a patient for some serious surgeries, this is a great idea! Other than the surgery, my care was far more subject to the nurses than the doctors. Nurses are not proportionately represented, and this office should help. A higher level leadership position would appropriately elevate the status of "Nurses". Like the Surgeon General, this position would advocate nursing influence for patient care.

I can only imagine that comments withholding support for this position (particularly those associated with nursing unions) stem from self-serving concerns that the needs patients may not align with the nurses (or union) objectives."

From Mitch Cosner, interested layperson

"This is an excellent concept, which I hadn't heard of until this article. Congratulations to those responsible for the MA endorsement!

It is encouraging to see the state's lawmakers engaged and seeking the needs of the national public by endorsing this office.

It is perhaps equivalently distressing to see some nursing organizations opposing it, rather than working together to support the public needs. There has no been a single relevant point raised of how this is not in the best interest of the public. Therefore, it must not be in the interest of an individual(s). Such attitudes have no place in a profession founded in giving. Shine a lantern on this!"

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Friday, May 23, 2008   Post only 

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Monday, May 19, 2008

National Association of Neonatal Nurses Endorses Office of the National Nurse Initiative

Thank you to President Peggy Gordin, MS RNC CNAA-BC FAAN and the 38 chapters and more than 7,000 active members of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses for their support of the initiative to establish an Office of the National Nurse.

Here is the letter of support President Gordin sent to Representative Lois Capps (CA-23):

May 7, 2008

The Honorable Lois Capps
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

Dear Congresswoman Capps:

Honoring our mission statement, "NANN is the professional voice that shapes neonatal nursing through excellence in practice, education, research, and professional development", it is with great pleasure that I announce on behalf of thirty-eight chapters across the USA and more than seven thousand active members of the national Association of Neonatal Nurses, our full support of the initiative to establish an Office of the National Nurse. We believe, as we know you do, that it is necessary for nurses to provide quality, safe, and compassionate care to all Americans and this must include prevention.

We join many other nursing and health care organizations who recommend the Chief Nurse Officer position in the USPHS be elevated, strengthened, and titled to become the "National Nurse".

The designation of National Nurse will provide the authority, impetus, and public recognition needed for the nationwide focus on prevention. Further, we recognize the potential of having a National Nurse who could meet with health care leaders to highlight health disparities and bring forward new ideas to solve these inequities in all communities.

We are grateful for your continued efforts in highlighting the important work all nurses do and for your advocacy in improving the public's health. We look forward to reintroduction of legislation that will create the Office of the National Nurse. Please know you may call upon us for assistance when this happens.



The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, May 19, 2008   Post only 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"National nurse movement continues going forward"

Check out page 20 in the Oklahoma City's Nursing Times Thanks to staff writer Mike Lee for an excellent and accurately written story on the ongoing efforts to establish an Office of the National Nurse.

Lee interviewed Mary Margaret O'Gara RN, BSN, CDE who state she and many others are wondering why we don't have a National Nurse position at the federal level. She agrees with other supporters of the Office of the National Nurse initiative, that we have a sick care system, instead of a health care system, and believes that a National Nurse would provide the necessary leadership for prevention.

We concur and we urge our readers and supporters to join the campaign. Send a message to Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain, and Senator Barack Obama urging their support in elevating the CNO of the USPHS position to become the officially designated National Nurse. We have provided a sample letter for you to copy and paste at

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Wednesday, May 14, 2008   Post only 

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Archived post

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thank You To Representative Kathleen Keenan, Representative Bill Frank, Constituent June Schulte, and the Vermont State Legislature

Pictured: Representative Bill Frank (VT) and Vermont Constituent June Schulte

Joining Massachusetts and New York, the Vermont State Legislature passed Joint Resolution 52 on a voice vote thanks to Representative Kathleen Keenan, Representative Bill Frank and their 24 original sponsors! Here is a copy of their resolution, and although it is based on HR 4903, legislation that expired in the 109th Congress, they included in their whereas clause that this is an issue that warrants further Congressional examination.

House of Representatives
Montpelier, Vermont
Joint House Resolution
J.R.H. 52

Joint resolution urging Congress to enact legislation establishing an Office of the National Nurse

Offered by: Representatives Keenan of St. Albans City, Andrews of Rutland City, Browning of Arlington, Fisher of Lincoln, Frank of Underhill, French of Randolph, Gervais of Enosburg, Haas of Rochester, Head of S. Burlington, Keogh of Burlington, Leriche of Hardwick, Maier of Middlebury, McCormack of Rutland City, Milkey of Brattleboro, Morrissey of Bennington, Mrowicki of Putney, Nuovo of Middlebury, O'Donnell of Vernon, Ojibway of Hartford, Orr of Charlotte, Pearson of Burlington, Perry of Richford, Pugh of S. Burlington, Spengler of Colchester, Symington of Jericho, Wheeler of Derby and Zenie of Colchester

Whereas, everyday, nurses provide critical health care services to individuals in hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, and doctors’ offices, and as nurse practitioners, and

Whereas, there is a severe shortage of nurses throughout the United States, including Vermont, and

Whereas, during the 109th Congress, Representative Lois Capps of California introduced HR 4903, also known as the “National Nurse Act of 2006,” that would have established an Office of the National Nurse within the U.S. Office of Public Health and Science, and

Whereas, the legislation required the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to appoint a registered nurse to head the Office of the National Nurse, and

Whereas, under this bill, the National Nurse was directed to:
“(1) carry out activities to encourage individuals to enter the nursing
profession, including providing education on the distinct role of nurses in the health professions and examining nursing issues that would increase public safety, such as issues relating to staff levels, working conditions, and patient input;
“(2) carry out activities to encourage nurses to become educators in schools of nursing;
“(3) carry out activities to promote the public health, including encouraging nurses to be volunteers to projects that educate the public on achieving better health; and
“(4) conduct media campaigns and make personal appearances for purposes of paragraphs (1) through (3)”, and
Whereas, in accordance with the proposed HR 4903, on an annual basis, the National Nurse was instructed to designate four methods of achieving better health, and

Whereas, the National Nurse was also assigned the responsibility of making grants to nonprofit organizations for the purpose of developing and implementing community-based public health information programs in conjunction with designated state coordinators who would establish volunteer teams of nurses to serve as the onsite community educators, and

Whereas, this legislation would also have authorized appropriations, for a period of five years, to implement its provisions, and

Whereas, HR 4903 as introduced in the 109th Congress merits further congressional examination, and its provisions should be reintroduced in new legislation during the 110th Congress, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to enact legislation establishing an Office of the National Nurse, and be it further

Resolved: That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Peggy Sharpe, president of the Vermont State Nurses Association in South Burlington, to U.S. Representative Lois Capps, and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Thursday, May 08, 2008   Post only 

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Archived post

Monday, May 05, 2008

National Nurses Week-May 6-12, 2008

Visit our Cafe Press store to find merchandise with this picture.

Here is the press release sent out by the National Nursing Network Organization in celebration of National Nurses Week:

Nation’s Nurses Affirm Support for Office of National Nurse

National Nurses Week – May 6-12th, 2008

Portland, Oregon – As National Nurses Week approaches (an annual observance intended to honor Florence Nightingale and celebrate the contributions of our nation’s 2.9 million nurses), Oregon nurse educators Teri Mills MS, RN, ANP, CNE and Alisa Schneider MSN, RN continue to be amazed at the growing support for their grassroots effort to establish an Office of the National Nurse. The Massachusetts General Court, New York State Assembly, and the Vermont State Legislature all recently passed unanimous resolutions introduced by nurse state legislators urging Congress to enact legislation for a National Nurse. Dozens of national and state nursing organizations have also signed on their support.

“Nurses see daily that healthcare is in crisis with soaring costs and rising epidemics of preventable diseases. Nurses find it unacceptable that the United States ranks 19th in preventable deaths, with seven out of ten Americans dying each year from a preventable chronic condition. We are calling for change led by leadership provided through an Office of the National Nurse to strengthen efforts for a nationwide shift toward prevention that will improve health outcomes,” states Mills. The National Nurse would play a vital role by complementing the work of the Surgeon General to promote health awareness, increase health literacy and reduce health disparities.

“Delivering prevention messages through social marketing and mass media combined with locally designed interventions worked well when C. Everett Koop was Surgeon General. We need to bring that model back especially during a time when Americans are facing preventable conditions of epidemic proportions,” claims Schneider.

Schneider adds, “Another important component of the Office of the National Nurse initiative is to enhance visibility and public recognition of nursing.” Over the next five years, 45% of the nation’s public health nursing workforce is expected to retire. The Association of Schools of Public Health recently announced the country needs an additional 250,000 public health workers by 2020 to avert a public health crisis. “A highly visible National Nurse will increase the public’s understanding of the important role nurses play in health care and encourage youth to explore careers in nursing and healthcare.”

“We’ve come a long way since the initial bill to establish the Office of the National Nurse, HR 4903, was introduced by Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23 who is a nurse herself) and supported by 42 legislators. "Although HR 4903 did not pass that first year," Mills says “We hear every day how remarkable it is that nurses alone (without the assistance of professional lobbyists and virtually no budget) have been able to continue to inspire so many others to join this effort, and plans to reintroduce legislation remain underway."

For more information on the current proposal, be sure to visit our current website.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, May 05, 2008   Post only 

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Archived post

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Grand Announcement-We Have An Official Website !

Many thanks to all of you who helped make it possible for us to announce our new website, This website contains a full list of those organizations, state legislatures, and individuals who support the Office of the National Nurse initiative as well as information on how to get involved with the campaign. Please email Teri with any ideas or suggestions you have to make the website even better. We look forward to hearing from you!

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Thursday, May 01, 2008   Post only 

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