Nurse Practitioners Group Makes a National Case for Its Members

AANP’s “We Choose NPs” campaign is designed to show how its members can help close the gap for healthcare workers.

Last week, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners launched a national advertising campaign encouraging the public to consider nurse practitioners as primary-care providers. As the video below shows, the campaign promotes the idea that while NPs are not fully credentialed physicians, they are certified to handle most patients’ everyday needs and are often more accessible than MDs.

Though AANP had done previous awareness campaigns, CEO David Hebert said they were typically targeted to groups, such as veterans. This time it wanted to communicate to a broader audience. “We came to the conclusion about a year ago that we needed to have a sustained effort,” he said. “Not only do we have a lot of new consumers out there who are interested in primary-care alternatives, we need to remind people about the importance of looking at nurse practitioners as one of their primary-care options.”

It’s important for the board to be invested not only in the rationale of the campaign, but the general approach.

Hebert said that arriving at the message of the campaign, “We Choose NPs,” was a collaborative effort that included the association’s marketing firm as well, as its board and staff, particularly regarding advocacy. (AANP supported a bill that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives addressing the opioid crisis, empowering NPs to prescribe addiction medication.)

“It’s my strong recommendation that any association which does a campaign like this make sure that the board of directors is involved from the very beginning,” he said. “Not just to approve the budget, but the goal and vision of a PR campaign. It’s important for the board to be invested not only in the rationale of the campaign, but the general approach as well. Once you get that support, then you can move to the operational aspects of it.”

The TV ads are airing on high-rated programs on cable-news channels such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, as well as news and talk programs such as Good Morning America, Today, and Ellen. Radio and social media promotion are part of the campaign as well. Though it’s important that the campaign catch the eyeballs of a lot of members of the public, Hebert said AANP will measure the success of the campaign in ways that go beyond the specific ask of encouraging people to consider NPs.

“You can’t judge a PR campaign by how many more people are going to choose a nurse practitioner—that’s just not something that can do in terms of measurement,” he said. “We can also judge from the standpoint of the response from public policy makers and decision makers, generally speaking, who responded well to the ads. And there’s the member response—the extent to which you get positive responses from the membership at large as well as leaders within the organization. That’s always helpful too.”

To that end, Hebert said the campaign serves an advocacy role in addition to its awareness-building role. “We have learned over the years that there are a lot of legislators out there who still don’t understand the depth of an NP’s education,” he said. “Like a lot of associations, we start thinking within the circles of our organization that everyone knows about our members, when in fact that’s not necessarily the case. Thus the need to go back and do this kind of campaign again.”

(YouTube screenshot)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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