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The Office of the National Nurse

May 24th, 2007  |  Following the Leaders

Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP

Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP, an instructor at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon, had an idea, so she wrote down her thoughts in a letter and mailed it to the New York Times. Teri’s letter quickly caught the attention of the American public.

On May 5, 2005 the The New York Times published Teri’s op/ed in which she called for the establishment of the Office of the National Nurse. Teri’s letter gained her national attention, and she received phone calls and email from around the country. The letter also caught the attention of her Congressman, Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who read Teri’s op/ed into the Congressional Record. Shortly after the letter’s publication, Teri and a team of her supporters were invited to meet with Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), who is also a nurse and the leader of the Congressional Nursing Caucus. Rep Capps supported the concept, and she introduced H.R. 4903: National Nurse Act of 2006 on March 8, 2006.

Teri said that she admires Martin Luther King, Florence Nightingale, and Benjamin Franklin because those outstanding leaders empowered others, which in turn allowed their followers to do great things to improve society. She said, “A leader is someone who is more concerned about getting to the end result than they are about themselves.”

Teri said that establishing an Office of the National Nurse will achieve the following goals:

1. Focus all Americans on preventive health practices by delivering broadcast educational-based messages, and posting these messages on a dedicated website in multiple languages to improve health literacy and to reach our diverse population.

2. Decrease morbidity and mortality while alleviating suffering and saving healthcare dollars.

3. Reduce emergency room visits and save Medicare/Medicaid dollars through prevention and education.

4. Provide a trusted, unified, and educated source for people to consult first when considering options for addressing their wellness needs.

5. Help prioritize and deliver the health agenda to the nation by complementing government services already in place.

6. Focus national attention on the value of nursing; inspire entry into nursing careers, and enhance the value of practicing nurses.

Teri is a nursing leader because she is advocating for the public’s health and the nursing profession, as well as serving as a role model for future generations of nurses.

Click here to learn more about the Office of the National Nurse.

Terri Polick
About Terri Polick
Terri Polick has been a nurse for thirty years, and is a published author living in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. She is currently working as a freelance writer, and is a frequent contributor to Nursing Spectrum Magazine. Terri works at a local community hospital as a psychiatric nurse.

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