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NAON formed a new alliance last year with the United States Bone and Joint Decade. What is the Bone & Joint Decade, you might ask? On March 21, 2002, President George Bush signed the Proclamation for a 10-year initiative known as the Bone & Joint Decade 2002-2011. There are four goals: (1) raise American's awareness of the growing burden of musculoskeletal disorders on society; (2) promote prevention of musculoskeletal disorders and empower patients through educational programs; (3) advance research in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these disorders; and (4) improve diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. NAON was pleased to support these goals, and I was lucky to be a part of the journey. At the time, I was a newly elected director of NAON, and I was appointed as the Liaison to the Bone & Joint Decade (BJD).
Here are a few facts from the BJD's brochure entitled Good Moves for Life. One of every seven people is affected by a bone and joint disorder. In the United States, musculoskeletal conditions rank first among diseases using measures of disability and requiring visits to physicians' offices. Musculoskeletal injuries and conditions deprive our children of normal growth and development patterns.
NAON's mission statement and purpose are intertwined with the BJD's goals. Out of the 70 U.S. patient and professional healthcare organizations that support the BJD, only 2 nursing organizations are involved. This year, NAON became a participating member of the BJD. This provided NAON with the opportunity to seek a nomination to join the BJD's Board of Directors and provide a voice for orthopaedic nurses. At the Congress Board meeting, I was asked to submit my name for nomination, and I am pleased to announce that I was elected to be an At-Large member of the U.S. BJD Board of Directors. At the winter board meeting in New Orleans, the Executive Board had the pleasure and privilege of meeting the BJD's Executive Director, Toby King. We spoke with him about how NAON can assist in promoting this worthwhile effort to have a greater impact and effect throughout the United States.
To further our collaborative efforts, a BJD taskforce was formed within NAON, and one of our goals is to promote awareness of the BJD, first to NAON members and then, we hope, to thousands of others through a trickle down effect as you tell employers, orthopaedic surgeons, patients, and the lay public in your communities. The task force also would like to combine its joint efforts to promote Decade Awareness Week, October 12 to 20, and International Orthopaedic Nurses Day on October 30. A future joint project is to develop an educational program for the general public on prevention of or treatment options for a particular musculoskeletal condition. The research committee is looking into avenues to assist the BJD in finding ways to reduce the burden of musculoskeletal disease.
I encourage all of you to help promote awareness of the BJD. The BJD has a detailed brochure that speaks to issues to which healthcare professionals, industry, employers/employees, and the general public can relate. Order brochures, posters, or stickers from the BJD, and creatively distribute them, such as at health fairs in your local hospitals or communities, at chapter meetings or workshops, on bulletin boards in your place of employment, or to area schools, clubs, or retirement communities. The possibilities are endless, and we must get the word out. Everyone, regardless of his or her age, must be concerned about his or her bones and joints!
For more specific details about the BJD, go to http://www.boneandjointdecade.org/usa/.
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