Nurse practitioner (NP) residency/fellowship programs are an emerging industry across the country.
This study aimed to conduct an in-depth exploration about postgraduate NP residency/fellowship programs in the United States and to gain an understanding of program characteristics, educational content, and implementation methods to assist NPs to transition to practice.
This exploratory study used a quantitative design to conduct an online survey of program directors of NP residency/fellowship programs to collect data about program characteristics to assist graduates to transition to practice. Descriptive statistics were calculated for continuous variables, whereas frequency and percentage were calculated for categorical variables.
Nurse practitioner residency/fellowship programs lack consistency in standards for educational content and delivery methods. Only 26% of the programs were accredited, and the programs were not consistently based on nationally recognized competencies. Ninety percent of the programs relied on didactic and clinical supervision delivery methods. More than 90% of the residents/fellows cared for adults older than 65 years of age and managed chronic diseases. Family Nurse Practitioner was the most commonly cited population track offered (73%). Nurse practitioner residency/fellowship programs are sparsely offered in the most rural states with underserved populations.
Implications for practice:
This study provides data and insight into the emerging industry of postgraduate NP residency/training programs for educators and employers. In addition, it informs regulators and decision makers about the quality and consistency of programs and the impact of programs on the care delivered by new graduate NPs.