Abstract Background: In 2007, the first formal postgraduate nurse practitioner (NP) residency program was launched at Community Health Center, Inc., a large Federally Qualified Health Center in Connecticut, and focused on primary care and community health. There are numerous post-graduate nurse practitioner training programs across the nation, and many more are under development. Although the literature describes the impact of postgraduate residency training programs on new NPs’ early practice transition, to date, no studies have examined the long-term impact of postgraduate NP training programs on alumni’s career choices, practice, and satisfaction. This study sought to understand the impact over time of Community Health Center Inc.’s postgraduate NP residency program on the subsequent career paths of alumni who completed the program between 2008 and 2019. Additionally, it explored alumni’s current reflections on the impact of their postgraduate residency training on their transition to the post-residency year and beyond, as well as their professional development and career choices. Moreover, it sought to identify any previously undocumented elements of impact for further exploration in subsequent studies.
Method: This was a retrospective cohort study that used an electronic survey and interviews. All 90 of the alumni who had completed Community Health Center Inc.’s residency between 2008 and 2019 were invited to participate.
Results: The survey’s response rate was 72%. Most (74%) of the participating alumni indicated they were still practicing as primary care providers. Of these, 57% were practicing at FQHCs. Nine subthemes were identified from the interviews, with an overarching theme that the program was foundational to a successful career in community-based primary care and that the impact of the program continues to evolve.
Conclusion: Community Health Center Inc.’s postgraduate NP residency program had a long-standing impact on alumni’s commitment to continuing in primary care practice, as well as their engagement in leadership activities to ensure quality care.
Keywords: primary care, access to care, underserved communities, nurse practitioner residency, professional satisfaction, federally qualified health center (FQHC), nurse practitioner transition