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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Updated on March 19, 2011

America Needs a National Nurse

“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

Statistics don’t lie: millions of Americans are uninsured and the infant mortality in the United States rate is the second highest among developed nations. Insurance premiums and medication costs soar. Even though the United States spends more per capita on healthcare than any other industrialized nation, according to the World Health Organization, we rank 37th among those same nations in return on our dollar. Clearly, our economy cannot withstand this, as healthcare costs approaches consumption of nearly 20% of our GDP.

Many illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension and diabetes have tragic complications, but the greater tragedy is that nearly 50% of the time, they can be prevented. Consider heart disease. 80% of heart attacks in women are preventable. In addition to the human pain, suffering and lost productivity from a heart attack, there is also an unnecessary financial burden placed on families.

Clearly, our healthcare system needs a different focus. We can no longer afford our current model of disease and sick care; rather we need healthcare that encourages disease prevention and wellness while treating.

Teri Mills, nurse practitioner and educator, visualized that nurses are the healthcare providers best equipped to teach prevention and proposed establishing the Office of a National Nurse. When The New York Times published her idea, it ignited a grassroots effort led by nurses and others to support the National Nurse Act.

Oregon Congressman, Earl Blumenthauer introduced Ms. Mill’s proposal, the National Nurse Act of 2010 into the 111th Congress and the bill will be reintroduced for legislation in 2011; daily, nurses sign an online petition that supports legislation to create the Office of a National Nurse. .

Who would be the National Nurse? The National Nurse would be the Chief Nurse Officer of the United States Public Health System. Currently this individual is a part-time employee and in taking on the duties of the National Nurse, her position would become a full-time position.

Working with the Surgeon General, the proposal calls for a nurse to be appointed at the federal level of government to deliver the message of disease prevention and wellness strategies to all Americans via televised, radio, and internet-based public announcements.

Each of our nation’s 3 million registered nurses would be encouraged to volunteer on a National Nurse Team to provide educational programs in their communities, increasing awareness of health issues, such as the benefits of exercise and stress management and the detrimental effects of smoking.

We may all have differing thoughts about how to solve our current healthcare problems; but we all agree that prevention of illness alleviates suffering, saves lives and money. Who better to teach Americans how to take better care of themselves than our nation’s trusted, highly educated and skilled nurses? It is time to create and fund the Office of a National Nurse.

For more information, please visit

America Needs Health Teaching


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    • profile image

      Annie/teamrn 5 years ago

      wba, thins like the holistic approaches to caring are thought of; they were starting to be embraced, but as government digs in further, the holistic care and study of the connection between mind and body is decreasing.

      But the following is so strong, that peopele are still following and doing independent stufy and it's being taught in medical schools, usually as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

    • profile image

      Annie/teamrn 5 years ago

      Even though the 'system' for delivering healthcare today, needs mega-tweaking, the government has plenty of things to involve itself in. The problem should be left to the healthcare workers and their policy-makers. The people in the trenchwes or those who have 'been there done that. Annie'

    • profile image 5 years ago from upstate, NY

      We surely do need a shift in focus concerning healthcare, what excellent ideas you have mentioned! I see the governments interference in healthcare to have stunted creative ideas like this from being implemented. Holistic medicine has been largely ignored and been even considered quackery by the medical establishment.

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 6 years ago from Chicago


      There will be more tips, etc. I've been spreading myself so thin, developing my blog and working on the National Nurse networking team, but the information you're looking for will come out sooner or later! Annie

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Excellent article teamrn. I do hope this national nurse act passes and helps this nation get healthier. I know you know I am a cancer survivor and if we could have tips on preventing this or other disease, it would be saving so much pain, money, etc...I appreciate this great information. Keep us posted:)

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 7 years ago from Chicago

      sdy53, In as much as it is oft said that preventative efforts wouldn't solve the healthcare problem we face right now, there is still so much to be gained; less suffering, less financial ruin/devastation, less time away from work, less FMLA taken and the list goes on. Some chronic illness can't be prevented, but most others can. Why lock the barn door AFTER the horse has escaped?

    • sdy53 profile image

      sdy53 7 years ago

      You must not be familiar with the quote:

      There are 3 types of falsehoods. 1. Lies 2. Damned Lies 3. Statistics.

      All levity aside, you do raise some eye opening concerns about healthcare in US.