DispatchHealth developed the Transition to Practice Fellowship to meet our growing need for skilled nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to provide patient care in our unique model.
The program is for new graduates with advanced clinical degrees. Successful applicants engage in a nine-month training program, during which they learn to practice independently, at the top of their license.
Going beyond the bedside
DispatchHealth — an innovative provider of on-demand, in-home acute and transitional care — launched the Fellowship in March 2022 and hosted their first cohort in June 2022. The program has three main goals:
- Provide career pathways for previous team members who left to pursue advanced clinical degrees
- Elevate the skills of new nurse practitioner and physician assistant graduates, and prepare them to practice independently and provide high-quality care with confidence
- Foster the next generation of advanced practice clinicians and expose them to innovative models of care
The Fellowship is exceptional in that NPs and PAs are empowered to become leaders within a company that is redefining healthcare delivery. Upon successful completion of the program, clinicians practice independently — visiting patients’ homes to provide hospital-level care that would otherwise require a trip to the ER.
DispatchHealth’s Transition to Practice Fellowship is worlds apart from other fellowships that train NPs and PAs to practice at the bedside or in a clinical office environment. It is a robust and vigorous training environment, thoughtfully designed to support and engage learners and set them up for success.
Meet Chris: A nurse practitioner fellow
Chris Graham, MSN, FNP-C started his Fellowship in September 2022, joining the program’s second cohort after graduating from Vanderbilt University with a master’s degree in nursing. He had previously worked with DispatchHealth as a medical technician.
“I first joined DispatchHealth in 2018,” says Chris. “What sold me on the company was the ride-along that I did with one of the PAs as part of the interview process. There was a lot to learn and understand about going into a patient’s home to deliver hospital-level acute care.”
“As a medical technician with DispatchHealth, I worked four shifts per week, visiting about seven patients during each shift. I also saw that many of my peers were advancing their education to become NPs and PAs. That planted a seed for my future.”
Chris moved on from his medical technician role and joined the clinical education team at DispatchHealth headquarters. “I traveled across the country to help open new locations. I also did in-home visits as part of the training and implementation process in these markets. It gave me a whole new perspective on my career.”
That’s when Chris decided to return to school and earn an advanced clinical degree. Meanwhile, DispatchHealth was in the exploratory phases of developing the Transition to Practice Fellowship.
A unique learning opportunity
While Chris studied for his degree, the DispatchHealth Clinical Center of Excellence was busy creating the new Fellowship program in collaboration with clinical, operational, and talent acquisition leaders. The program director, Allie DiAngelo, MSN, FNP-BC, used her experience within our unique care model to help create new graduate provider training with an emphasis on support and mentorship.
“Before the Fellowship, we did not routinely hire new graduates,” says Allie. “But we saw an opportunity to keep all-star talent like Chris on the team, as well as attract high-quality NP and PA applicants from across the U.S.”
“We realized this program would be ideal for those looking for a supportive entry into professional practice and to expose the next generation of clinicians to acute care practice in the home. We could train new NPs and PAs in ‘The Dispatch Way’ — which emphasizes courage, innovation, integrity, and compassion.”
“Going into patients’ homes is different, even strange, for acute care practitioners. But it is also satisfying. It’s what ‘fills my cup’ at the end of the day. With DispatchHealth, clinicians are able to see so much more of the patient, assessing their immediate needs and observing their social determinants of health. You are not going to see that whole picture at the bedside in a traditional healthcare setting,” explains Allie.
“When we enter the home, we gain the knowledge to understand our patients’ vulnerabilities, which is especially important with our elderly and homebound patients. That is the power of the DispatchHealth model — being able to deliver and coordinate care that respects each patient’s unique situation.”
On the road to independent practice
As Chris approached his graduation date, he explored NP fellowship training programs from coast to coast. He called his previous colleagues at DispatchHealth for their opinions and advice, which was when he learned about the Transition to Practice Fellowship.
“Having worked for DispatchHealth before, I knew this was right for me. I went through the application and interview process and was selected for the second cohort,” says Chris.
“I spent the first two months with my preceptor, going on patient calls. He gave me an incredible level of support. He stepped back and let me be the lead caregiver. But he also stepped in when there was a way to make patient care better or easier. Especially when it came to prescriptions and follow-up care with the patient’s PCP or specialist.”
DispatchHealth exists to improve the patient care experience, as well as the provider experience. Fellows quickly learn how the company makes a difference with each visit.
Next Fellowship cohort begins soon
The DispatchHealth Transition to Practice Fellowship is a nine-month training program that includes:
- Two months of 1:1 preceptor-supported training shifts
- Seven months of supervised independent practice as an in-home clinical provider, 30-40 hours a week
- Monthly lectures about DispatchHealth clinical practices and approach to in-home medicine
- Hands-on training in various procedural skills, such as suturing, splinting, Foley catheter management, IV insertion, lab results interpretation and incision and drainage care
- Access to emergency medicine training resources
- Case study work with other cohort members
- Education and coaching on achieving progressive key performance indicators (KPIs); Fellows must meet specific benchmarks to successfully complete the program
The Fellowship is open to NPs and PAs with less than one year of advanced practice experience and the willingness to commit to one year of employment after program completion.
“Our ideal applicant is going to have an open mind and be willing to learn ‘The Dispatch Way’,” stresses Allie. “If you are coachable, receptive, and eager to learn, we will train you to practice at the top of your license.”
The DispatchHealth Transition to Practice Fellowship is in the process of gaining national accreditation. Learn more now.