Role would increase the visibility of nurses
THE CREATION OF a national nurse for public health would give recognition to the important role nurses play in the healthcare system and provide a platform for greater education on the importance of preventive care, proper treatment of chronic illnesses and the need for emergency preparedness.
That was the message of a nurse educator and AFT member during a congressional briefing Feb.25. Teri Mills and her group, the National Nursing Network Organization, is working to pass H.R. 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015, which has been introduced by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would bring visibility to the role nurses play in promoting, protecting and advancing the nation’s health. To do that, the legislation calls for the individual serving as the chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service to be known as the national nurse for public health.
With outbreaks of diseases like Ebola and measles, people are awakening to the fact that health promotion is key, says Mills. “People are craving accurate information about our healthcare challenges. Who better to deliver that information than a nurse?” In the last 10 years, more than 145 organizations—including the AFT and now the American Nurses Association, which signed on this year—as well as prominent individuals have endorsed legislation calling for creation of a national nurse position.