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In normal times, transition-to-practice programs help new nurses gain confidence, skill, and proficiency as they move into their careers. But during the days of COVID-19, those programs can gain even more significance.

Recently, a panel discussion held at the ANCC Virtual Summit outlined how four transition-to-practice programs adapted during the pandemic. At least one program, the OhioHealth Acute Care Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Fellowship, provided staff to help care for COVID patients at the height of the pandemic.

The program, which runs roughly 10 months, prepares NPs and PAs to provide acute, critical care, and trauma services. The five-year-old program enrolls 10 APPs per year, according to Todd Fuller, MSN, ACNP, program director, based at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The program has two parts. The first provides broad experience in critical care, while the second is reserved for the fellows to focus on a specialty once they secure a position in the system.

In March, “the two ICUs that are the main ICUs for our system at Riverside were ground zero for COVID at the time,” he notes. Facing a shortage of staff to care for COVID patients, the system called on three of the ten APP fellows to provide help in critical care. “These APP fellows are more trained than anybody to be able to best take care of these patients,” he notes. They were able to take a more independent role while also receiving supervision from their preceptors.

At the time, the staff was down three full-time employees. The APPs helped save overtime and minimize fatigue on team members. They were able to help split up extra night shifts and extra weekends and “take a lot of the burden off of the rest of the team that they were already going to be working with.”

The curriculum offers such features as a large number of CMEs, a high-tech high-fidelity simulation facility, procedure training, and an ultrasound curriculum.

Beside the OhioHealth program, the ANCC session provided information about transition-to practice programs from Huntington Hospital (Pasadena, CA), Mayo Clinic, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.  The ANCC Virtual Summit was held this year in lieu of the ANCC National Magnet Conference.


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