What kind of program could meet the needs of medically underserved populations while helping nurse practitioner (NP) students move smoothly from training to practice? A new Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program, set to launch at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing in August 2022, seeks to fulfill those needs, according to Leanne Fowler, DNP, MBA, APRN, AGACNP-BC, CNE, Program Director of Nurse Practitioner Programs, Program Coordinator for the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration and Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing. Focused on caring for people from underserved or disadvantaged backgrounds, the NP Fellowship Program will be the first of its kind in the state of Louisiana.
“I expect this fellowship program to produce a nurse practitioner workforce better able to serve medically underserved communities than graduates who enter the workforce without transitional training,” says Dr. Fowler, who will serve as the program director.
Dr. Fowler proposed the NP Fellowship program, which was approved by the School of Nursing’s administrative team in the summer of 2021, after her review of available literature on the benefits of transition-to-practice programs for NPs confirmed what she already suspected: A consistent transition-to-practice program would enhance new NPs’ confidence, support and job satisfaction.
“With the support provided in this program, nurse practitioners will be able to scale their work to a full panel of patients in a shorter period of time,” Dr. Fowler says. “Employers will benefit from the increased capacity and so will the patients they serve.”
The program will be the first in the state fully administered by a school of nursing and NP educators who are clinical experts in their fields. Other NP fellowships are administered by health care agencies that do not have the teaching expertise that will be available to LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing NP fellows.
“We will have nurse practitioner educators facilitating the structured learning and evaluation of fellows on-site in collaboration with clinical partners,” says Dr. Fowler, who has already signed several clinical partners for the program.
Partnering with Metropolitan Human Services District, Children’s Hospital New Orleans, University Medical Center New Orleans and St. Thomas Community Health Center, the School of Nursing’s fellowship program will offer three concentrations: Critical Care for Adult, Pediatric and Neonatal NPs; Adult Psychiatric Mental Health for Psychiatric Mental Health NPs; and Primary Care for Adult, Family and Pediatric NPs.
“Our clinical partners will benefit from the program by having reduced nurse practitioner turnover, improved satisfaction and increased billing for the nurse practitioner fellow’s performance,” Dr. Fowler says.