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Communication students work on nursing regulations


Kacie Bailey, MA '15, is volunteering with a group advocating for changes to nursing regulations in Massachusetts as part of a class project. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)

Two Emerson students are taking civic engagement to a state level.

Communication Studies graduate students Kacie Bailey, MA ’15, and Thomas Craig, MA ’16, recently spoke with a legislative steering committee about a communication strategy to aid two nursing associations with a political campaign.

Eagan, OwenThe students are helping with a campaign to pass legislation to remove restrictions for nurse practitioners and certified nurse anesthetists as part of a project for a public affairs class taught by Executive-in-Residence Owen Eagan.

“This is a strategic partnership that provides our students with practical experience while providing these organizations with added value,” Eagan said. “These are the types of programs that distinguish Emerson College as a leader in the communication field.”

The students are collaborating with Craven & Ober Policy Strategists, LLC, and two Massachusetts nursing associations: Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Massachusetts Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

Eagan said the campaign is aimed at passing legislation to remove “antiquated restrictions” for nurse practitioners and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Massachusetts is currently one of only three states, including Alabama and Delaware, that restricts the care nurses can provide, Eagan said. For instance, nurses cannot provide certain care, such as writing prescriptions without physician oversight and supervision, according to Eagan.

“The primary goal is to help get information out to advance practice nurses on legislation that directly affects their practice of medicine in the state,” Bailey said. “[The nurses associations] have given us a lot of autonomy with the messaging, how we want it to look and what it says, but at the same time have been giving us great feedback and criticism to help us grow with the project.”

Bailey said the ideas put forth in the campaign have been endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission, the American Association for Retired Persons, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

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