This is from The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) E-News, March 4, 2008
TAANA in Action: TAANA Board Leading the Charge on the Office of the National Nurse Initiative
The Board of Directors of TAANA is putting in extra hours fulfilling its mission, and thanks to the hard work of board member, Edie Brous, we are seeing some great results. The board made a recommendation to support the Office of the National Nurse initiative, www.nationalnurse.org, during their February 2nd meeting in Pasadena, California. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the initiative, here is a brief re-cap:
Two years ago, the New York Times published an op-ed written by Teri Mills, MS, RN, ANP, CNE, a nurse educator/nurse practitioner from Oregon. The op-ed expressed a vision for our country to establish a high-ranking federal official titled, “National Nurse.” The article highlighted a proposal that would unite nurses from all educational backgrounds to address the nation’s rise in preventable conditions that are causing human suffering and contributing to the rise in healthcare costs.
The popularity of the story led to the formation of The National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO). Six members now sit on the Board of Directors, including Edie Brous, who hails from New York. Additionally, a number of nurses and supporters from around the country have lent expertise in a number of areas.
From the National Nurse website, an Office of the National Nurse is needed to:
- Establish symbolic national leadership by elevating and strengthening the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS to make this position visible to the nursing profession and the public.
- Complement the work of the US Surgeon General.
- Promote involvement in the Medical Reserve Corps to improve the health and safety of the community.
- Incorporate proven evidence-based public health education when delivering prevention.
The idea made sense to nurses around the country. Congresswoman Lois Capps, U.S. Representative for California, transformed the idea into a bill proposal and introduced it into the 109th Congress where it amassed the bipartisan support of 42 House co-sponsors.TAANA previously awarded Representative Capps with the McGarvah award and support of this bill could further strengthen TAANA's alliance with her.
In the past year, the NNNO has fulfilled many interview requests and presented at several nursing conferences. The inspiring presentations have led to more and more nurse involvement.
Endorsements have poured in from all corners of the nation, including the New York State Assembly, who unanimously passed a resolution memorializing the United States Congress to enact legislation to establish the Office of the National Nurse.
Future legislation is planned for the 110th Congress. It is now being advocated that the position of the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for the U.S. Public Health System (USPHS) should assume the role of the National Nurse. This will likely expedite the passing of the bill, minimize cost, and avoid duplication of services. However, the NNNO feels that it is crucial to also re-title the position to “National Nurse,” rather than keep the title, “Chief Nursing Officer.”
Thetitle of "National Nurse"will be unique and recognizable. Presently there are thousands of nurses working under the title of Chief Nursing Officer (you only need to Google this as evidence), and few really understand or know of the important roles that the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS performs.
Teams composed of volunteer nurses would most likely be incorporated into the Medical Reserve Corps to focus on delivering health promotion information in their communities and could provide a ready supply of nurses in cases of large-scale emergencies, such as Hurricane Katrina and the Southern California fires. These activities will focus on strengthening health related linkages and creating a culture of prevention.
The National Nurse continues to gain momentum. As elections draw closer, it will become imperative for nurses to be heard. The public depends on nurses to be their advocates, much in the same way nurses practice patient advocacy at the bedside. A collective nursing voice must be heard politically so the profession can take the lead on preventing health problems.
If you are interested in this exciting initiative, please contact Edie Brous at EBrousRNJD@NYSBAR.com. Whether it is to make a comment, offer your support, or to get directly involved, we want to hear from you!
To learn more about the National Nurse, go to www.nationalnurse.org. You may also sign up to receive updates via emailed newsletters at their website.
Endorsement of the initiative is consistent with TAANA's bylaws and strategic plans and will serve topromote the organization's visibility as well asdevelop alliances.