The House of Representatives will consider legislation that would create a "National Nurse for Public Health."
On Wednesday, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), along with more than two dozen Democrats, and Pete King (R-NY), introduced The National Nurse Act, H.R. 485, which would "would designate the chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)" as the "National Nurse for Public Health."
In an announcement on her website, Johnson said she, "as the first registered nurse in Congress," knew from "experience how nurses play a critical role in health promotion and disease prevention."
"Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease threaten the health of so many Americans," Johnson said. "The National Nurse for Public Health would raise awareness about what each of us can do to prevent illness while improving our own health and that of our families."
Kerry Paige Nesseler is the current chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service. She advises "the Surgeon General, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nurse Professional Advisory Committee and nurses across the country on health issues." If the "National Nurse" position is created, her responsibilities would include working with the surgeon general to "focus on health promotion, improving healthcare literacy, and reducing health disparities."