Mission of the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Consortium (NNPRFTC)
The purposes of the NNPRFTC are to promote health and education by:
(a) improving the availability, efficacy and quality of healthcare by establishing, developing and refining an educational and training model for postgraduate residency and fellowship training programs for nurse practitioners;
(b) improving healthcare by promoting and providing support to post-graduate residency and fellowship training programs for nurse practitioners;
(c) advancing and improving the availability, efficacy and quality of healthcare by establishing, implementing and monitoring standards for post-graduate residency and fellowship training programs for nurse practitioners by functioning as an accrediting agency with the principal purpose of accrediting post-graduate residency and fellowship training programs for nurse practitioners.
Creating a healthcare workforce that meets the needs of our patients and our society
There are currently 205,000 NPs practicing in the US, and 17,000 new NPs join the NP workforce every year; 85% of them are prepared in primary care (AANP, 2014.) NPs are a significant component of the healthcare workforce. In community health centers, for example, which serve 23 million people annually, NPs provide one in four of all medical visits (UDS, 2014.)
As the healthcare environment becomes ever more complex, many NPs and healthcare leaders have recognized the value of postgraduate training programs in primary care, specialty care, and sub-specialty care. The 2010 Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report called for residency training for all APRNs, including NPs, at the time of beginning practice and when changing specialty areas, and renewed that recommendation in the Committee’s 2015 update on progress since the Report was first issued.
An organization dedicated to supporting postgraduate training for Nurse Practitioners
Even before the Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing, the model of postgraduate NP training was being developed. The nation’s first primary care nurse practitioner residency training program was devoted to new NPs who were committed to practice careers as primary care providers in the nation’s safety net settings. It was developed and launched in 2007 by Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI) in CT, which recognized the urgency of the need for such programs, and the value it would afford both to newly graduated NPs and to the health care organizations they would ultimately join. The model was designed to provide an intensive, 12-month, full time training in the service delivery setting during which the new NP would be trained both to the clinical complexity of primary care, and to a high performance model of healthcare delivery.
CHCI designed the program from the start as a potentially replicable model and worked with other FQHCs around the country who were interested in starting similar programs. As other programs began to develop in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, hospitals and health systems, nurse managed health centers, and other settings, CHCI took on the role of convening all interested parties in a consortium in order to share best practices, advocate for federal investment in postgraduate training for NPs, and to support new programs in their planning, implementation, and growth. Over the past ten years, the focus of postgraduate NP training has broadened from residency programs focused almost exclusively on preparing NPs for practice as primary care providers to include programs focused on specialty and sub-specialty practice as well, most of which defined themselves as fellowship programs. The original name of the consortium, the National Nurse Practitioner Residency Training Consortium was changed to the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium to encompass both designations.
As programs evolved, the need to assure rigor and quality through the development of standards and accreditation became apparent. The consortium set a goal of exploring options for accreditation and initiated discussions with potential organizations. After research confirmed there was no available or interested source of accreditation at that time, the Consortium determined that it would create such a vehicle. At the time, there were no available options. The Consortium created an accreditation committee made up of leaders in the field of postgraduate NP training to study existing models of accreditation, develop standards for accreditation appropriate to postgraduate NP training, and to determine a vehicle for the accreditation service. The unique aspect of NNPRFTC's accreditation is that NP program directors are involved in every aspect of the development and delivery of the process.
CHCI had served as the convener of the consortium since its inception. In 2015, the CHCI Board of Directors determined that it was timely and appropriate for the Consortium to incorporate as a separate organization. The CHCI Board of Directors incorporated the new organization, the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium, in July 2015 and appointed its first Board of Directors. The Board met for the first time in September 2015 and elected its first slate of officers. The first Executive Director was hired in November 2015. The membership of the NNPRFTC is an association of professional organizations and individuals that are committed to advancing an effective and high quality model of postgraduate NP training through education, advocacy, and accreditation.
Programmatic Accreditation for Postgraduate NP training programs, designed by NP program directors
As you learn about our approach to postgraduate NP training program accreditation, you will see that our ultimate purpose is to extend the reach of effective healthcare access – including to our most vulnerable populations – and to do so through post-graduate residency and fellowship training that provides fully credentialed and licensed novice NPs with elective postgraduate training that provides the additional depth, breadth, and intensity they seek in preparation for highly challenging, satisfying, and vital professional careers.