From hospital bedsides to executive office suites to research laboratories to the halls of the United States Congress, nurses practice in many areas. American Nurses Association (ANA), encourages all nurses to be politically active to ensure safe and effective care for all patients, to elevate the profession, and to work to eliminate health disparities across our country (Pollitt, 2020).
Eddie Bernice Johnson, RN, BSN, MPA, a Texas nurse was elected to serve the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. Twenty-six years later, Johnson continues to serve her district. In the ensuing years, she has been joined by seven other nurses from across the country. The group of Congressional nurses is African American and white, Democrat and Republican. They range in age from 32 to 84. As a group, they represent all areas of the country and a cross-section of race, age, and political affiliation. They have all brought their professional experiences, ethics, and commitment to caring with them into the political arena (Pollitt, 2020).
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson 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. 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. “This act would empower a medical professional to focus on critical issues, such as promoting healthier practices, improving health literacy and decreasing health disparities” (Congresswoman Johnson Introduces National Nurse Act of 2019, 2019).