Charlie Yingling

The UIC College of Nursing is partnering with Erie Family Health Centers to create a one-year, post-graduate fellowship program called AdvancingPractice. The program will equip newly graduated advanced practice registered nurses to lead healthcare improvements in underserved and rural communities.

The four-year-long project is funded through a $3.3-million grant from a U.S. Health Resources and Services Association (HRSA) initiative called Advanced Nursing Education – Nurse Practitioner Residency.

The goal is not to duplicate the graduate education of new advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), but to expand upon it. Because primary care in rural and underserved settings can be particularly complex for new nurse practitioners transitioning into practice, the fellowship year is intended to serve as a bridge, giving them an opportunity to increase and fine tune healthcare and leadership skills, says Charlie Yingling, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, UIC Nursing interim associate dean for practice and community partnerships, who will serve as health education specialist on the grant.

“Not only are we equipping new graduates to provide exceptional in-scope care for their APRN role; we’re equipping them to lead change in community health,” he says.

UIC Nursing is Erie’s academic partner, which is a required component of the grant, and faculty will provide crucial aid in developing competency-based curricula, delivering the didactic components of the fellowship and evaluating the program.

Through a competitive process, APRNs from all over the country with specialties in one of four areas — family practice, pediatrics, adult gerontology and midwifery — will be selected and placed at a “home base” clinic in the Erie system. Throughout the fellowship year, they will participate in specialty rotations at many of Erie’s 13 other locations across the Chicago area.

UIC Nursing clinical associate professor Kathryn Rugen, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, a leader in the movement to establish nurse practitioner fellowship programs across the U.S., will serve as evaluation coordinator and fellowship consultant. Denise Bockwoldt, PhD, FNP-BC, CDE, clinical assistant professor, and Kelly Vaez, DNP, FNP-BC, clinical assistant professor, will serve as fellowship faculty.

The year of fellowship will include mentored clinical practice, education and training in advanced clinical procedures and complex case management, and leadership and systems competencies.

Yingling says program leaders will be looking for applicants who want a career in community health at a federally qualified health center setting.

Source: UIC College of Nursing