COLUMBUS, Miss. -- In a Tupelo ceremony today [April 5], North Mississippi Health Services and Mississippi University for Women announced a joint intensive residency program for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
It is believed to be the first such program in the nation that integrates the residency training of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, said David Barber, president of North Mississippi Medical Clinics.
“Our mission is to continuously improve health in the region,” he said, adding that NMMC has a goal of providing the best patient-centered care.
The one-year Advanced Practice Clinicians Residency Program, which may be taken for course credit in the doctor of nurse practice program at The W, will expand opportunities for health-care delivery by preparing those who complete the APC to assume primary care responsibilities, he said.
“This process started about a year ago, looking at the needs of the population,” he explained. “We believe it will offer significant value to patients. We’re very pleased to partner with The W and to have many graduates of their fine program.”
Clinical program director for the newly launched APC is Carey McCarter, DNP, assistant professor in both The W’s master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice programs. The program, which will be housed at NMMC’s Family Medicine Residency Center, will promote cooperation and teamwork between all provider levels that provide primary care to patients.
“The APC residency will provide additional clinical hours for nurse practitioners and physician assistants,” McCarter said. “They will take courses from The W over three semesters, beginning with the fall.”
Applications for the APC are being accepted until May 31 for four available positions. Applications are available for download at www.nmhs.net/fmrc.php.
To be eligible, prospective residents should be a recent graduate (18 months or less) of a master’s of science in nursing nurse practitioner program or master’s of science in medicine physician assistant program. “Early response has been very positive,” McCarter said.
Those entering the intensive 12-month residency program will be focused in four key areas. “Continuity clinics,” which are a cornerstone of the effort, will pair residents with a medical provider to develop their own patient panels. In addition, required rotations will place residents in high-volume/high-risk situations in a number of medical areas such as pulmonology, geriatrics and hospitalist.
Residents also will work in independent clinics as a member of a team, seeing patients at the delegation of the primary care providers, who remain available for consultation.
A final component of the APC will be formal learning sessions on a variety of complex challenges encountered in the clinical setting.
“Primary care providers are in short supply,” said Dr. Karen Hughes, medical director for the program and associate director of the NMMC Family Medicine Residency Center. “Teaching providers to work together will help extend the patients we see and allow us to extend care.”