In keeping with the theme of National Nurses Week 2012, "Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring," a group of grassroots nurses traveled to Washington, DC, in March to lend their support to HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011.
This bill was introduced on Dec. 15, 2011, by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and co-led by Congressman Peter King (R-NY). HR 3679 calls for Congress to designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health.
There is overwhelming evidence supporting the critical need to boost health promotion and prevention efforts as well as answer the public demand for increased leadership in nursing. HR 3679 will bring forth the significant and trusted voice of the nurse to the ongoing conversation about health and healthcare in America.
The participating nurses found their visit to be very successful. Caring doesn't just occur at the bedside. As patient advocates, it is up to us to make sure our elected officials hear from those of us who work directly with the public and to reinforce the message that health promotion and prevention are the cornerstone of every nurses' practice.
Americans listen to nurses about their health. Having the CNO recognized and serving as the National Nurse for Public Health offers a common sense, cost-effective opportunity to help in decreasing preventable chronic conditions that cost lives and dollars.
For more information, visit http://nationalnurse.org
Teri Mills is president of the National Nursing Network Organization. Thank you to Mike Campbell for the photo of the group with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.