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Journal of Pediatric Health Care

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Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who begin their careers in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) may be challenged in this practice environment. Inadequate prior experience as a staff nurse, limited opportunities for clinical placements in the PICU during graduate education, and being in a fast-paced, high-acuity practice environment without prior exposure to critically ill children are practice challenges in the PICU setting. The goal of postgraduate education training programs (fellowship programs) for the acute care pediatric nurse practitioner (ACPNP) is to prepare students to become beginner practitioners who can function effectively in the acute care setting within a few months of being hired, much like that of their physician counterparts who complete a fellowship.

The health care environment continues to be influenced by trends in national health care reform, shifts in the models for physician training, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education resident duty hour restrictions. These emerging trends have given health care organizations the opportunity to evaluate their current care delivery and training models. It is expected that the demand for APRNs with specialty training will increase. The aim of this article is to describe our experience in the creation and implementation of a critical care pediatric nurse practitioner (CCPNP) fellowship training program at a large midwestern U.S. tertiary care center.

It is expected that the demand for APRNs with specialty training will increase.

When this fellowship was created, there were no known fellowships available for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) interested in pediatric critical care. To meet the needs of these providers, a focused training program is required to provide specific preparation and competencies to practice to the full extent of the provider's license. A recent recommendation is for health care administrators to consider implementing fellowship training programs to assist nurse practitioners transitioning into specialty roles (Kells, Dunn, Melchiono, & Burke, 2015). We used several online search engines to identify pediatric health care institutions with active advanced practice provider postgraduate fellowships. Our search in June 2017 identified fellowship programs in primary care, pediatric hematology/oncology, palliative care, neuro-critical care, and urgent care/emergency department. To our knowledge, this fellowship program was the first of its kind and seeks to provide postgraduate specialty training and education focused on the unique requirements of critically ill children and their families to help fill a knowledge gap when entering practice in this highly specialized practice environment.


Accepted version. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Vol. 33, No. 5 (September-October 2019): 595-602. DOI. © 2019 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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