Special Interest:  H.R. 1651 and S. 1106

HR 1651 The National Nurse Act of 2017

Sponsor of H.R. 1651 in the 115th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30

Original Co-Sponsors:


S. 1106 The National Nurse Act of 2017

Sponsor of S. 1106 in the 115th Congress:
Jeff Merkley (OR-D)

Original Co-Sponsor:


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Monday, March 19, 2018

Record 2017-2018 Flu Season Highlights Need for Nurse Leadership

The 2017-2018 flu season is quickly approaching the worst in nearly a decade. According to the CDC as of early February 2018, over 17,000 US residents have been hospitalized, and 63 children have died due to influenza. High hospitalization rates strongly correlate with increased deaths. The current flu season is expected to exceed that of 2014-2015, during which about 56,000 Americans died.

Influenza is now widespread across all US states except Hawaii. While flu rates may have already peaked in states like California and Oregon, it is expected to persist nationwide through at least April, underscoring the need for a comprehensive prevention and management approach.

Vaccination remains the most critical component of preventing flu and mitigating the severity and fatality of illness. Since multiple flu strains exist and the virus rapidly mutates, influenza is a difficult illness against which to vaccinate. During this current US flu season, experts estimate the vaccine to be only about 30% effective in preventing illness. Yet, even in cases where that vaccine doesn’t fully prevent flu infection, it greatly lessens the duration and severity of illness, thereby decreasing risk of hospitalization and death. According to the CDC, as of November 2017, only 38.6% of US residents over a 6-month period had received the flu vaccine.

Working alongside other public health leaders, a National Nurse for Public Health would bring the professional expertise in disease prevention and management to mitigate the effects of epidemic influenza and prevent the likelihood of future incidents of pandemic flu. Nurses stand with the CDC, that outlines key steps to preventing the flu. First, all individuals over the age of 6 months are recommended to receive a yearly flu vaccine.

Next, every person can take steps to prevent the spread of germs. These universal prevention steps include avoiding contact with sick people, staying home when you are sick with flu symptoms, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or inner elbow when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap or using alcohol-based sanitizer, and avoiding touching the eyes, mouth and nose. Nurses are trusted experts in safety, hygiene and disease prevention. A National Nurse for Public Health would provide a credible and trusted voice in flu prevention and management.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, March 19, 2018   Post only 

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Progress Report on the National Nurse Act (H.R. 1651 and S. 1106)

Since the publication of the last National Nurse newsletter, tremendous progress has been made for the National Nurse Act, largely due to the activism of nurses and case managers from around the country. The National Nursing Network Organization [http://nationalnurse.org] is grateful to each and every one of you who have visited your own members of Congress, made telephone calls to their district and DC offices, and written follow up letters to request support for this legislation.

H.R. 1651 currently has 74 co-sponsors. This number includes 37 Republicans and 37 Democrats, making this bill one of the most bi partisan in all of Congress! Additionally, 31 out of the 55 members who serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee are in support. Among the House Nursing Caucus, 34 out of the 77 members have signed on to H.R. 1651. The bill has broad support from across the nation-U.S. Representatives from 28 states are co-sponsors, with the greatest number coming from California.

NNNO Vice President Elizabeth McPhee (RN) briefs Rep. Gabbard’s health aide Patrick Koetzle about the National Nurse Act

Special thanks to Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2-D), Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus and a co-sponsor for H.R. 1651 for tweeting, “Nurses are the heart of our healthcare system, providing life-saving care with empathy in the most trying&stressful situations. We must empower our nurses nationwide&pass #NationalNurseAct to expand public health outreach&education, improve health literacy&more.”

Five Senators have now signed on to the Senate companion bill, S. 1106. Thank-you to Senators Shelley Moore Capito (WV-R)(co-lead for S. 1106); Ron Wyden (OR-D); Bernard Sanders (VT-I); Susan Collins (ME-R); and Michael Bennet (CO-D). It is noteworthy that Senators Sanders, Collins, and Bennet all serve on the Senate HELP Committee.

This is the perfect time to bring recognition and highlight the importance of the National Nurse Act as well as to urge your U.S. Representative and Senators to become co-sponsors to this bill. Please visit the Take Action link to locate your members of Congress. This page has a sample letter and telephone script to make it easy for you to become an advocate. If you would like to become involved with the campaign, please email the NNNO Board. We are here to help!

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Thursday, March 01, 2018   Post only 

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Black History Month-Honoring Nursing Heroes from Past and Present

Each February we celebrate Black History Month. Let's honor and remember these nurse heroes.

Mary Jane Seacole OM was a British-Jamaican business woman and nurse who set up the British Hotel behind the lines during the Crimean War.

Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States, graduating in 1879.

Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War.

Sylvia Trent-Adams MSN, RN, PhD is a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the current Deputy Surgeon General of the United States. She was the first nurse to serve as Interim Surgeon General.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson represents Texas's 30th congressional district in the House of Representatives. She is the first nurse elected to the United States Congress and she is the lead sponsor of H.R. 1651 The National Nurse Act.

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, February 19, 2018   Post only 

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Mobilizing Nurses Via the Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities. Opportunities where MRC volunteers are utilized include providing first aid during large public gatherings. In 2017, when hundreds of thousands of spectators converged on the little rural towns of Oregon to watch the solar eclipse in its path of 100% totality, a call went out to volunteers and nurses responded, including NNNO Vice President Elizabeth (Liz) McPhee. Liz and others were charged with setting up a medical tent and they were available 24/7 to provide support and care.

This is another example of how the US Public Health Service and the National Nurse for Public Health can provide guidance while mobilizing an existing resource, our nation’s 3.4 million nurses!

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, February 12, 2018   Post only 

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Increasing Deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases Highlight the Need for a National Nurse for Public Health

A 5/31/17 article by Michael Bloomberg underscores that for the first time in human history, deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and chronic respiratory disease outnumber deaths from communicable diseases like malaria or influenza. According to the World Health Organization, NCDs accounted for 88% of total deaths in the United States as of 2014.

These deaths are largely preventable. It is time for the United States to prioritize management of NCDs. Bloomberg outlines recommended interventions including improved data collection, better tobacco control, obesity prevention, and vehicle and road safety. Nursing’s strong focus on the prevention and management of NCDs uniquely position our profession to stand up as trusted leaders in the field. The National Nurse for Public Health will emphasize prevention and help to improve health outcomes, particularly with respect to deadly, costly non-communicable diseases.

Obesity represents a growing public health crisis that contributes to other illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and musculoskeletal disorders. A 6/12/17 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine explores the global pandemic of obesity. In 2015, the United States had the highest global rates of childhood obesity at 12.7%, while 33.1% of US adults were obese. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, overweight and obesity contributed to about 4 million deaths globally in 2015. Changes in food systems that have reduced access to healthy foods, along with decreased physical activity were notable contributing factors to the obesity epidemic. Now more than ever we need a National Nurse for Public Health to lead on the front of obesity prevention and management.

A January 2017 study by the University of San Francisco published in the Journal Pediatrics suggests that e-cigarettes are attracting adolescents who would not otherwise have used tobacco products. The National Institute of Health, [https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/teens-e-cigarettes] found high numbers of adolescents are exposed to e-cigarettes, and about 30.7 percent of e cigarette users go on to smoke combustible tobacco products. E-cigarettes lack consistent regulation, and marketing is often targeted specifically toward teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cigarette smoking has been connected to greater than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States. Looking back at Bloomberg’s recommendations to decrease mortality rates from non-communicable diseases, improved tobacco control stands out as a priority. The National Nurse Act of 2017 (H.R. 1651/S. 1106) promotes public health and prevents illness and death associated with tobacco use.

Few topics in public health are more salient than the current opioid epidemic in the United States. The New York Times article, Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever including devastating statistics. Drug overdoses now represent the number one cause of death in Americans under the age of 50. The problem worsened dramatically in 2016 and is only expected to escalate in 2017. An estimated greater than 2 million individuals are thought to be opioid dependent. This public health crises sweeping our nation demands action. Nurses are uniquely capable of helping to address opioid dependence and other substance use disorders through a comprehensive management approach.

As the nation faces these ongoing health challenges, a National Nurse for Public Health can work alongside other policy leaders and health professionals to steer the United States in its course toward better health. The goals listed in the above diagram developed by the U.S. Public Health Service Nursing Category are completely aligned with what the National Nurse Act is asking for‐educating and empowering individuals, families, and populations and encouraging participation in national health promotion campaigns. It is time to pass this bill!

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, January 29, 2018   Post only 

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