PENNSYLVANIA COALITION OF NURSE PRACTITIONERS
Pennsylvania’s 11,000-plus certified nurse practitioners strive to do their best under outdated state laws that constrain patient access to health care. For example, the commonwealth has a mandate requiring nurse practitioners to maintain business contracts with two active physicians – even though this provides no benefit to consumers.
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP) has pushed for changes in the law to allow nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their training. There are bills in the state House (HB 100) and Senate (SB 25) that promote what is called “full practice authority,” and have gained momentum in recent sessions.
Ceisler Media and Issue Advocacy was brought in to develop a communications strategy to educate the public about the valuable role played by these health professionals, as well as show how removing unnecessary barriers would benefit public health.
Ceisler Media worked with the PCNP on a full range of strategies aimed at supporting the proposed changes in the state law. These include coalition building – putting together a coterie of people and groups who can effectively communicate their shared interests. Our coalition includes diverse entities such as the AARP, the free-market group Americans for Prosperity and the Free Clinic Association of Pennsylvania, which seeks to expand treatment options for low income Americans.
We launched a public education campaign, informing people of the role played by nurse practitioners. As part of that, we conducted media training with nurse practitioners and patients so they would be able to reach through interviews and letters to the editor.
We helped prepare nurse practitioners create public testimonies that they gave before legislative committees.
And we helped the PCNP create strategies for defining their social media needs and maximizing reach.
With the help of Ceisler Media, the PCNP has successfully raised the profile of this issue and helped residents understand the important work of nurse practitioners. Leading media outlets in the state have published articles or editorialized on the issue. On social media, engagement about how the legislation would help to #CareforPA has been amplified far and wide.
There has been momentum toward changing the onerous laws governing nurse practitioners. In 2017, the Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 25, which would eliminate the proviso that practical nurses have working agreements with two physicians. The bill is awaiting movement in the House of Representatives.