Mar 7, 2019
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today introduced the National Nurse Act of 2019. This bill, H.R. 1597, will designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service as the “National Nurse for Public Health.” The responsibilities of the position would task the National Nurse for Public Health with identifying and addressing national health priorities.
“For years, our national healthcare policies have not helped nurses administer the best possible health care. The National Nurse Act of 2019 improves the health care of Americans across the country by appointing a National Nurse to join the Surgeon General in advocating for nurses who provide care for millions of Americans each day,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “This act would empower a medical professional to focus on critical issues, such as promoting healthier practices, improving health literacy and decreasing health disparities.”
The act has 52 original cosponsors in the House at the time of its introduction. It has been endorsed by more than 50 nursing and labor associations, including the National Nursing Network Organization. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
“As the first registered nurse elected to Congress, I understand the unique role nurses play in our national health care system,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “By supporting this bill, we not only acknowledge the benefit nurses bring to our discourse, but we are also enhancing our health care system as well.”
Key Responsibilities of the National Nurse:
- Collaborate with the Office of the Surgeon General to identify and address national health priorities;
- Serve as a visible national spokesperson for engaging nurses in leadership, policy, and prevention efforts;
- Encourage health professionals to work with community programs to improve health;
- Increase public safety and emergency preparedness; and
- Prepare and submit biennial report to Congress on nurses serving in the U.S. Public Health Service.