A Framework for Public Policy Analysis and Effective Advocacy
Congress Daily: Why is it so important for each and every CRNA to learn to advocate for the nurse anesthesia profession?
Christopher Hulin: It goes without saying that there is a lot of tension in the political and “corporate” space between nurse anesthetists and physical anesthesiologists. It is my belief that we will gain a lot of ground with effective advocacy with not only lawmakers, but all thought leaders and decision makers in the healthcare space. Advocacy is the responsibility of all CRNAs, and if all CRNAs engage in effective advocacy, we can certainly move the needle in our favor.
Congress Daily: What do you recommend for someone who has never been involved in advocacy for the profession? Where do they start?
Hulin: I recommend someone to start advocacy with the decision makers that you already have day-to-day interactions. Hospital leadership, civic leaders, and then move to the political realm after you are comfortable talking through the issues and clearly articulating the issues facing our practice.
Congress Daily: What is a healthcare policy analysis framework?
Hulin: The healthcare policy framework which I will be exploring is a guide to how healthcare public policy decision “should” be made. This model also can be used to make healthcare business decisions at the local or regional level. The model includes an evaluation of the Effectiveness (quality), Efficiency (cost), and Equity (access) of a given issue. The reality is that many people use this framework to make decisions without realizing it, however, when we clearly articulate that we are applying a “model” to our advocacy efforts it increases the legitimacy of the argument and advances our goals. The good news is also that CRNAs always measure up very well when all three dimensions are considered - our competition has tried to control the narrative by discussing only one dimension (and frequently skewed); effectiveness - and they almost never discuss the other two pillars of good policy. This is where CRNAs can be very effective in presenting the completed policy analysis.
Congress Daily: What is an advocacy intervention?
Hulin: An advocacy intervention is any opportunity that we can change the narrative and promote our profession in a positive light by considering what is best for our communities. Healthcare resources are limited and it is our responsibility to educate lawmakers, thought leaders, and decision makers about how/where CRNAs can help control costs and access while maintaining quality.
Congress Daily: Advocacy has everything to do with communication and reaching out, connecting. How does someone become comfortable with going to speak with legislators?
Hulin: You become comfortable meeting with legislators by starting out in your current circles of influence with people whom you are already comfortable having a discussion. Every state has a government relations leader or lobbyist who would be more than happy to have you join them on a legislative visit. Also, attending the state “day on the hill” or Mid-Year Assembly is a ready-made event to facilitate making those first connections to lawmakers.
Congress Daily: For the tried and true, experienced advocates, how can they bring new advocates into the fold?
Hulin: To bring others into advocacy is as simple as mentorship. Learning from a more experienced provider is how we each developed our clinical skills, it is the same way with effective advocacy. It also will follow that same pattern that there may be some initial stutters and stumbles, but with practice comes efficiency and success.
Congress Daily: Do you have anything else you would like for our members to know about your session?
Hulin: I encourage anyone who is hesitant to advocate for our profession and/or wants to explore a simple model that will increase the legitimacy of current advocacy efforts to attend.
Please note that at press time, this session will be held in the Crystal Ballroom B, Lobby Level, West Tower. Be sure to double check all room assignments in the AANA Meetings app.