Student nurses at Mt. Wachusett Community College recently took the issue of a National Nurse to the Massachusetts state legislature. They contacted their state representative, Christine Caravan, BSN to assist in this matter.
Rep. Caravan took the matter to the MA state legislature and on March 27, unanimously both the House and Senate branches passed a resolution encouraging the U.S. Congress to enact legislation to create an Office of the National Nurse.
The students were acting on their belief that elevating the current Chief Nurse Officer position in the USPHS will help to make nurses more visible and prominent in producing a cultural shift to prevention in health care. At this time when preventable chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity are hitting record numbers, nurses can make a difference in providing patient education. An Office of the National Nurse would provide a prominent and highly visible symbol to help make this possible.
Colleen Thaxton, assistant professor on nursing at Mount Wachusett CC stated she is “excited that my students saw the importance of this role and took the initiative on a state level. It is great for them to see that they actually can make an impact.”
“We are delighted, continued Ms. Thaxton, “that the Massachusetts legislature recognizes the importance of having an Office of the National Nurse to complement the work of the U.S. Surgeon General in promoting preventable health care.” Congratulations to these students for their efforts!
The American Nurses Association urges all 2.9 million nurses in the U.S. to become politically active.
The ANA, along with the NLN and NSNA recently faced off with the Oregon Student Nurse delegates at the National Student Nurses Association Convention in Texas last month. The students proposed a resolution to support the Office of the National Nurse. When the students were confronted by dignitaries from the ANA, NLN and NSNA on this issue they stood their ground and showed that they had done their homework. They adapted their proposal to coincide with proposals by these organizations to elevate the current Chief Nurse Officer in the USPHS to this position. The revised resolution passed. Everyone got a good lesson in political activism. Congratulations to these strong students as well!