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Accrediting the NP Postgraduate Training Program in Year One

Support for New Program Directors

Over the past several weeks I’ve had a series of very interesting conversations with colleagues who are in the midst of establishing new NP postgraduate residencies.  These are residencies and fellowships across the primary care spectrum: family, adult/gero, and two in PMHC.  Of course there are also programs in midwifery, peds, and others. We’ve talked about the process of moving from a few weeks of organizational on-boarding for new NPs to a well-crafted 12-month program based on a high performance model of training in complex care environments.

There is a lot to be done before the first class of trainees actually joins the program.  And that is just the beginning.  Then, the trainees arrive and the program is active.  The first year is constant fine-tuning.  There are heartening epiphanies and discouraging discoveries.  An inexperienced mentor is embraced by the new residents.  An experienced preceptor is reassigned and unavailable.  Small things can make a big difference.  A mentor suggests a tweak that saves time and resolves a problem.   Resources developed by colleagues who have already survived provide a way to manage the issues of the moment.  Another program director offers guidance in figuring out the progressive balance of supervision and mentorship to practitioner autonomy.  Someone else has a template for cross-walking the new program’s organization and curriculum with the Standards.

It’s a lot to process and manage.  Which leads me to my next thought.  The Consortium has a new accreditation process, Provisional Accreditation, for programs that have completed the planning phase, have admitted their first class, but have yet to graduate a cohort of trainees.  It is explicitly designed to provide support and guidance to program leaders as they work their way through that up-hill climb that is year-1 of implementation.  Following submission of the Notice of Intent to Apply (for Provisional Accreditation), immediate benefits include monthly technical calls, networking with a community of colleagues who are immersed in the same developmental activity, and access to other programmatic resources.  Upon confirmation of graduating the first class and adhering to the standards, Provisional Accreditation converts to Accredited status for the remaining 2 years of the accreditation period.

Accreditation is an investment in the future.  Accreditation is a visible testament to a commitment to excellence.  It is a publicly visible affirmation that a postgraduate training program is providing carefully designed, high quality clinical experiences, focused on providing qualified and credentialed trainees with mentorship and guidance as they are trained to a high performance level of care in complex clinical settings.

So, if you are in the process of recruiting your first class of trainees, consider getting Provisional Accreditation through the Consortium.  Do get in touch and let’s talk about the benefits of Provisional Accreditation.  We have informational packets that are useful in garnering support from institutional administration.   Come and join the accreditation community!