Maryland Academy of Advanced Practice Clinicians

CALL TO ACTION: The National Nurse Act of 2019

Posted 10 months ago by Elaine Crain

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The National Nurse Act of 2019

The National Nurse Act of 2019 was introduced on 3/7/2019.  H.R. 1597 is co-led in the House by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Peter King (R-NY).  Its companion bill, S. 696 is co-led by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

Bill designates the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of Public Health Service (PHS) as theNational Nurse for Public Health.

The intent of the National Nurse Act is to strengthen the influence of the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS to address public health initiatives with emphasis on being a leading voice for public health for nurses and to encourage greater involvement of nurses, without any additional economic or time burden on the existing role.

CNO position is currently a dual appointment and is shared with the branch of the Health and Human Services that CNO worked in prior to appointment.

Duties and responsibilities currently held by CNO are retained.

CNO/National Nurse for Public Health will:

  1. Function alongside Surgeon General and focus on priorities of health promotion, improving health literacy, and decreasing health disparities;
  2. Serve as a visible national spokesperson for engaging nurses in leadership, policy, and prevention efforts; and
  3. Encourage health professionals to work and/or volunteer with community programs to improve health.
  4. Provide guidance and leadership for activities that will increase public safety and emergency preparedness.

Conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and opioid addiction pose the greatest threat to the health of Americans and to our nation’s economy.  Nurses play a critical role in prevention and management of these conditions and the work of the CNO/National Nurse for Public Health focusing on prevention will help reduce the occurrence of illness and contain health care costs.

The National Nurse Act of 2019 is simple, pragmatic, and can be implemented as it is written without the request of additional allocations.

This bill has strong bipartisan support in the 116thCongress with 52 original co-sponsors and 58 additional co-sponsors for H.R. 1597. Currently, 10 Senators are co-sponsoring S. 696. There are 112 endorsing organizations that include nursing, labor, key stakeholders and six state legislative bodies (MA, OR, NJ, NY and VT) that previously passed resolutions with overwhelming support urging Congress to enact this legislation.

Please contact your US senators and representatives, ask them to support the National Nurse Act of 2019 and use the following talking points:

  • Designates an existing already funded position, the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS as the National Nurse for Public Health 
  • National Nurse will be a leading voice for public health for nurses - Nurses are trusted by the public and 4 million strong
  • Chronic conditions take a huge financial toll on our economy; there is a measles outbreak and an opioid epidemic- HR 1597 lends support to prevention efforts 
  • Bill is cost neutral and widely supported by 112 nursing organizations and key stakeholders
  • 110 cosponsors; identical Senate bill with 10 cosponsors

For more information, visit


Elaine Crain 7 months ago

Information on how to find your elected officials and hints on how to write a letter/email or make a phone call are on our website:

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