Stephen Ferrara always knew he wanted to help people, so when it came time for him to decide what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, the decision came easy — he wanted to go into medicine.
Dr. Ferrara graduated with a biology degree and went back to school for his nursing degree, and after years of working in various clinical settings, Ferrara said he sort of stumbled into leadership and advocacy work by accident.
In his work with CVS and their minute clinic model, Dr. Ferrara worked to expand the program to New York, but quickly realized there were a lot of regulatory hoops in place keeping him and his team from providing access to quality care.
“I thought, ‘Oh wow, this is going to be a great thing for access and also for NPs,’ but we ran into a lot of issues with regulations and scope of practice issues. We were doing exactly what we [had been] educated to do… [but still] it felt like everybody was against this model. I just thought, ‘It shouldn’t be this way.’ That is when I sort of became active within my state NP association,” he said. “The rest is history from there. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, and it was that experience that said to me, “Get involved. Amplify your voice.”
As Dr. Ferrara said, the rest is history.
For the last several years, Ferrara has been involved in advocacy work through the New York State Nurse Practitioner Association. It’s those state laws that often have the power to prevent us from putting into practice all the things we learned in school!
Your starting point? Join your state association. Find a local meeting. And don’t talk yourself out of attending just because you don’t know anyone! It can be intimidating to walk into a room of folks who have been working together for decades, but your input as a newcomer is valuable and needed. After all, the addition of new ideas is how change is born, right?
LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED TODAY:
- Join the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
- Join the New York State NP Association
- Find your state Nurses Association
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