Warning: Parts of this post may make you angry.
You will receive many calls during the next few weeks from KANPNM's Advocacy team asking you to take action and speak up in support of legislation to increase patient access to quality care.
In each instance, your participation will be critical to the success of our profession's legislative efforts.
When you find yourself wondering, "Why on earth should I send another email or make another phone call?" Remember this:
If you don't tell your story -- someone else will make it up and tell it for you.
Consider the following images and transcript which were pulled from a national online video campaign run in 2019. The organization behind the campaign wastes no time in setting up their message.
"If there was a shortage of pilots in the United States, would you be comfortable with a flight attendant taking a crash course in aviation to fly you and your family to your next destination?
This is exactly what is happening in medicine today.
. . .
The implications are vast and dangerous."
The video goes on to say that "non-physician practitioners," specifically NPs and PAs, want the right to "essentially practice medicine with minimal medical training and no physician involvement."
We know the message is ugly and false. We know their assertions aren't supported by data, evidence or fact . However, if the distorted message is the only one heard, it becomes easy for listeners to take the fear-mongering lies as the truth.
In Frankfort, similar sorts of untruths, distorted data and misrepresentations of what APRNs do will be whispered to lawmakers by those who oppose our legislation. Tales will be told to frighten legislators not well versed in health care and unless they hear from an APRN who steps up as an informed advocate for their patients and their profession -- the twisted stories will be the only ones the legislator knows.
Do not let the opposition control the narrative about APRNs.
Only your energetic and relentless advocacy can keep policy makers informed and educated about Nurse Practitioners and their vital contributions to Kentucky citizens.
Your Advocacy Team will be working diligently to assemble supporters and co-sponsors of our legislation but lawmakers pay the most attention to people who live in their districts. What they hear and learn from "their people," meaning the local citizens who sent them to Frankfort, is the message that counts most.
During the legislative session, APRN advocates should arm themselves with data, facts and to be willing to tell their stories about NP patient-centered care and how more access to it will help Kentuckians. That is the message legislators need to know.
NPs can control the discussion by taking action. Call, send a note or email your local legislator often. Work to build relationships with your lawmakers by offering to be a resource for them on healthcare issues. Ask if they have questions about NP legislation and get them answers. Invite them to your clinic, classroom or office to show them professionalism, knowledge and compassionate health care at work.
You must be the one to speak up for your patients, your future patients and the profession. Be a relentless advocate.
Your Advocacy Team will give you the tools you need to be knowledgeable and successful in your advocacy -- but it will be up to you to have conversations with your legislators.
Let's control the narrative and make certain that every single legislator hears from the APRNs who live in their district.
When APRNs speak in a unified voice, legislators will listen. Together we can help make increased access to quality care in Kentucky a reality.
If you want Kentucky APRNs to have resources to fight back against well-funded political smear campaigns like the one quoted in this article, contribute to Kentucky Advanced Practice Political Action Committee. Contribute to KAPPAC