Monday, June 23, 2008

From the Office of the National Nurse Intitiative

[Editor's note: Because I believe in this initiative, and because those involved contacted me, I have agreed to post official information regarding the Office of the National Nurse Initiative in an article today. Thank you.]

Nurses United Behind Office of the National Nurse Initiative

For nearly three years a grassroots campaign has been underway to establish an Office of the National Nurse. The National Nurse will:
· Serve as a prominent nurse icon for prevention.

· Complement the work of the US Surgeon General.

· Strengthen preparedness and prevention within the MRC units.

· Guide nurses to promote prevention in their local communities.

· Generate interest in nursing careers and other health professions.

* Strengthen partnerships among existing national, state, and local public health services.

Opportunities for change in healthcare are becoming a political reality. Creating the Office of the National Nurse, will uniquely position nursing to promote prevention, the prominent cornerstone for healthcare reform in the platforms of the Presidential candidates. As reports continue to be published about the demise of our healthcare system, 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.

The nearly 3 million nurses in this nation cross all our cultural communities, and annual Gallop polls show nurses are repeatedly "the most trusted profession." With Congressional sanction of a National Nurse leader, the existing nurse workforce, including students and retirees, can effectivly begin shifting our nation to a culture of prevention and reducing the health disparities found in many racial and ethnic communities.

To create the Office of the National Nurse, it is recommended Congress strengthen the position of the existing Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the USPHS, making it more visible and aligned with the Office of the Surgeon General. This will avoid creating a new entity, replication of existing services, and will not require new funding. Providing the CNO with the unique title of National Nurse will assure the prominence and public recognition needed to promote prevention at the national level. Also, the National Nurse would accurately portray nursing leadership (as opposed to media portrayals) and will enhance public awareness of the varied roles nurses play to protect public health.

As a visible professional spokesperson, the National Nurse will be a valuable beacon for recruitment and will promote volunteerism of nurses and other health professionals within existing frameworks such as local Medical Reserve Corps. Presently, about 30,000 nurses serve in the MRC, a mere 1% of the nurse workforce. "MRC units are community-based and function locally to organize and utilize volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources." Retrieved on November 2, 2007 from

We are amazed at the amount of grassroots support the Office of the National Nurse proposal is receiving from nurses on the frontlines, members of the public, and members of Congress. A complete list of endorsers can be found at

To get involved:

1. Visit for links on ways to contact your Representatives or Senators.

2. Contact Teri to sign up for email newsletter updates and forward these to your family, friends, and peers.

3. Ask organizations you are a member of to endorse the Office of the National Nurse initiative.

4. Write a letter of support to the Presidential candidate you are supporting and urge him to put language about the Office of the National Nurse proposal into their platform statement on nursing/healthcare.

5. Purchase a button or a bumpersticker at

6. Make a donation to the National Nursing Network Organization. We are a non-profit organization, but are not tax exempt; therefore contributions are not tax deductible.