[LEGISLATIVE UPDATE] National Nurse Act of 2011Sees Major Accomplishments in 2012

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Last December, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011. The bill, co-led by Congressman Peter King (R-NY), garnered eighteen original co-sponsors; the number of co-sponsors is now forty-five! HR 3679 would designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service to be additionally recognized as the “National Nurse for Public Health.” Thanks to the ongoing and strong support from so many of you, plans are underway for re-introduction in the 113th Congress!

Elizabeth McPhee RN is the newest member of the National Nursing Network Organization’s Board of Directors. The NNNO Advocacy Team currently has 46 members representing 23 states. These individuals have been instrumental in advocating for their own elected officials to support HR 3679 and also in helping to spread the word about this campaign through publications and presentations. Additionally, they have helped to increase the membership of the social networking groups on Facebook (The National Nurse Campaign -over 2550 have signed up) as well as LinkedIn (The National Nursing Network Organization). If you belong to Facebook or LinkedIn, please visit these pages and consider signing up!  You can also follow the NNNO on Twitter @aNationalNurse.

Significant Endorsements in 2012:

More than 115 organizations and prominent individuals and four state legislatures have endorsed HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011. Many of these groups provided individual letters of support that were addressed to Congressional leadership. The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), a state affiliate of the American Nurses Association, unanimously voted to support this legislation because members recognize the tremendous potential the National Nurse Act of 2011 has to advance the health and wellness of our country.

With leadership provided by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, the NY Assembly overwhelmingly passed K957, a resolution memorializing the NY Congressional delegation to support HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011. “Nurses already incorporate teaching as a cornerstone of nursing care no matter where that care is being delivered. In addition, nursing interventions that promote health are powerful tools for prevention in community settings,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “Furthermore, the Gallup poll indicates year after year that Americans listen to nurses about their health. We believe the nursing profession has the expertise, the skills and the commitment needed to shift the tide towards prevention and begin to improve our nation’s health at a time when chronic preventable conditions are occurring at astronomical rates.”

Presentations:

Thank you to the Cleveland Clinic’s Clinical Nurse Specialists for inviting NNNO President Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE to keynote their annual conference, Celebrating CNS Practice: The CNS as a Bridge Builder. The hospitality extended by the host committee was amazing. Even after spending a short period of time with this group of nurse leaders, it is evident why the Cleveland Clinic is recognized for its hard work ethic and excellence in the healthcare arena. Innovation and new ideas are encouraged and supported, especially when they are focused on improving the health of our country.

Supporters of HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011 can still listen to an informative story produced by the Center for Health, Media, and Policy last August. Diana Mason PhD, RN, FAAN, the co-director of the Hunter College Center for Health, Media, and Policy in New York interviewed two proponents of the legislation: Susan Sullivan MSN, RN, PHN who serves as the Secretary of the National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO) and Anne Llewellyn, RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN Editor in Chief Dorland Health and NNNO Advocacy Team Member. Mason, Sullivan, and Llewellyn are in agreement that HR 3679 is timely and claim a National Nurse for Public Health would boost current efforts in the prevention arena by working to strengthen existing programs such as the Medical Reserve Corps and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign.

Thank you to Blog Talk Radio hosts Keith Carlson and Kevin Ross for inviting Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE, President of the National Nursing Network Organization to discuss HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011 on their program last July. There is now a link to an archived version of the show available and all are encouraged to listen to the program. The hosts stated they received many communications from regular listeners who felt as if the topic was timely and significant. They also shared that the show was informative and inspirational.

ELECTED RN: Congresswoman Johnson is the first nurse ever elected to Congress. She continues to be a strong leader for public health. Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) discuss the language in HR 3679.

Thank you to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) who wrote an inspiring op/ed to honor and acknowledge our nation’s nurses. The article, Recognizing and Thanking Our Committed Nurses, was published in the Huffington Post during Nurses Week last May.

Congresswoman Johnson stated, “While our country continues to shift towards a nationwide focus on prevention and promotion, I believe that nurses should be standing in the forefront of this reformation. It is for this reason that I propose that we as a Nation designate a National Nurse for Public Health. The National Nurse would function alongside the Surgeon General and focus on health promotion, improving health literacy, and decreasing health disparities.”

Numerous articles about the National Nurse Act in 2012 were included in newsletters that went out to thousands of nurses and key stakeholders. One example, “The quest for a ‘national nurse’ continues” was published in the April issue of AFT (American Federation of Teachers) News that is distributed to 1.5 million members.

Quote for the New Year:

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.—Oprah Winfrey

Accomplishments in 2012

A new year is nearly upon us and we want to take time to reflect on the numerous achievements in 2012 that would have been impossible to achieve without your support. For anyone who wishes to take a trip down memory lane, click on the archived months of 2012 found at http://nationalnurse.blogspot.com to follow our journey.

You are all extremely important in our work to pass legislation for a National Nurse for Public Health – THANK YOU to the all of you who tirelessly provided us with advice, expertise, and support this past year! Wishing you the happiest and healthiest of holidays and look forward to 2013!

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About Heather Swift

Heather “Swifty” Swift has been Kicking mAss since 1998. At 28 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a recently single mom with two small babies on her hip. After completing treatment with the thought that cancer was in her rear view mirror she worked, locally, as a volunteer for Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance doing community outreach to be certain that no one faced cancer alone. In 2005, she had a secondary diagnosis of breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which only amped up her commitment to creating positive change and to becoming a strong and effective advocate for the young adult cancer community. Now, at age 42, Swifty, her partner, Brian, and her two teenage children work together locally, nationally and internationally to advocate for change. Swifty regularly meets with legislators to work towards tangible change in health care, legislation that addresses the needs of cancer patients, care-partners, and families. She works directly with clinicians, medical/nursing students, youth & college students, cancer support organizations and others to educate them about the special needs of young adults living with a cancer diagnosis. Swifty is passionate about providing support by connecting people living with cancer to resources, to other cancer survivors, and to mobilizing and training individuals and groups to find their inner advocate. Swifty currently works with a number of amazing, hand-selected organizations, which provide her with opportunities to educate, to advocate, and to change the conversation about cancer and to work to bring an end to the disease. A few include: LiveSTRONG, mAss Kickers, Imerman Angels, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Dusty Showers & The Second Basemen, and Stupid Cancer. Swifty is an oncology nursing student in upstate New York, loves time with her family, paddling sports, and peanut butter. She is a Virgo, but not the really anal-retentive type. Her strange fascination with superheroes makes her popular in geek circles, but it can be endearing. Swifty will be riding a llama across Oregon in July of 2012 and really does believe we can achieve and end to cancer and in world peace. Motto: Never Give Up! Favorite quote: “Our own life has to be our message.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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