'Advocating, Leading, Caring': National Nurses Week 2012

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and American Nurses Association President Karen Daley are among the notables honoring America's nurses this week.

With the vigorous debate over the Affordable Care Act -– the National Federation of Independent Business made a new plea on April 24 to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the law's individual mandate to obtain health insurance is constitutional, and the court will issue its decision on the challenges to the law next month -– two national health care leaders mention the law in their statements calling attention to this year's National Nurses Week (May 6-12). May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA).

ANA's president, Karen Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius both issued statements noting the profession's importance. "This year's theme is Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring. During this pivotal time in our nation’s journey to transform health care, the theme is particularly meaningful," Daley said. "We continue to advocate for a system that puts patients at the center and that emphasizes prevention and wellness. We are identified as leaders who can improve practice environments in the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing report. We demonstrate our caring every day, not only in our interactions with patients, but by our integrity. That is why the public ranked us as the most trusted profession for honesty and ethics for the twelfth time in a Gallup survey."

"During National Nurses Week, we recognize the tremendous contributions that nurses make to keeping America healthy," Sebelius said in May 4 statement. "As passionate advocates, leaders and innovators for better health, America's nurses have demonstrated their commitment to meeting the public's health care needs. The health initiatives called for by the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, would not be possible without our nation's nurses. By expanding investments in primary and preventive care programs in which nurses play a vital role, the Affordable Care Act strengthens the focus on keeping people healthy and managing chronic conditions. Through the law and other efforts, the Department of Health and Human Services is working to ensure that nurses get the support and training they deserve and need to do their job.”\"

The Supreme Court's decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, No. 11-393, and the two related challenges to the health care law is expected in June. The American Public Health Association is holding its Midyear Meeting that month -– June 26-28 in Charlotte, N.C. -- and also focusing the event on the changes taking place in the U.S. health care system.

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