By Matt Batcheldor
Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Advanced Practice Fellowship Program has been accredited as an Advanced Practice Provider Fellowship Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs.
After an extensive evaluation, the ANCC deemed the program to be the highest quality and worthy of public confidence. VUMC is now one of only five Advanced Practice Fellowship Programs nationwide that have specifically received this new recognition, said Buffy Krauser Lupear, APRN, CRNA, DNP, MMHC, director of Advanced Practice Development & Professional Practice and program director of VUMC Advanced Practice Fellowships. Advanced practice professionals are inclusive of nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and physician assistants, she noted.
“This accreditation recognizes the curriculum we provide is evidence-based, and of the highest standards, to ensure we are providing the best possible education and environment to our advanced practice fellows as they transition into their new roles,” Krauser Lupear said.
The program, which dates to 2016, has five fellows currently enrolled. VUMC’s Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner Fellowship previously received ANCC accreditation with distinction as a Practice Transition Program in 2020, a designation that covers other types of practice transition programs, not just advanced practice fellowships.
The latest accreditation includes fellowships in Solid Organ Transplant, Adult Urology, Medical/Surgical Weight Loss and Hematology/Oncology. The included sites are Vanderbilt University Hospital & Clinics and Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.
In January 2024, VUMC plans to apply to the ANCC for accreditation for a Behavioral Health-Child & Adolescent fellowship. An additional Otolaryngology fellowship is starting in January and can be submitted for accreditation after the first fellow graduates. And a fellowship in Emergency Medicine is planned.
ANCC Accreditation is a voluntary review process intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of practice transition programs. The accreditation was the result of a lengthy self-study that included information on the history of the program, how it has evolved, successes and challenges, quality outcome data and stories from fellows. The self-study was further affirmed through a virtual site visit in July 2023 involving fellows, clinical coordinators and executive nursing leadership.
VUMC’s 12-month fellowship program supports new advanced practice providers as they transition from student to competent clinician, or from practicing one advanced practice specialty to another. In the program, fellows receive specific education and skills training to assist them in developing effective decision-making, sound clinical judgment and professional performance.
“Our program allows the fellows a protected environment to learn about these specialty areas and their specialty patient population, building their confidence over the 12 months to be an independent and competent advanced practice clinician,” Krauser Lupear said. “Fellows will not only see patients but also will have protected time for scholarly work, including attending conferences and completing a project, as each of them are required to do. It allows them to immerse themselves in clinical practice while gaining knowledge and experience.”
VUMC is a national leader in advanced practice. There are more than 325,000 nurse practitioners and 150,000 physician assistants in the United States today, and more than 1,500 advanced practice clinicians are at Vanderbilt.
“Our fellows join us from all over the country, and we have been fortunate to retain many of them after they finish,” said Brent Dunworth, DNP, MBA, CRNA, NEA-BC, associate nurse executive for Advanced Practice in the VUMC Office of Advanced Practice. “I think that speaks to the culture at Vanderbilt that attracts advanced practice professionals to launch their careers with us.”
The accreditation allows graduates of the program to claim that they participated in an ANCC-accredited advanced practice fellowship program that meets rigorous evidence-based criteria.
“I am honored to celebrate this achievement, as it reflects the incredible partnership that our advanced practice clinicians have with executive leadership and physician partners to care for our patients and families according to the latest, evidence-based practice,” said Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, NE-BC. “It is also an affirmation of the discipline and rigor built into the programs for Advanced Practice and the onboarding of new clinicians.”