By DoQuyen Huynh, ICHS ARNP Program Administrator
On Sept. 12, 2015, our first class of Nurse Practitioner (NP) residents celebrated their graduation at the Wing Luke Museum. Jean Baumgardner’s unparalleled kindness, Megan Wilbert’s fierce leadership and Kimberly Cooper’s fearless determination naturally complemented one another, and they gelled immediately that first week of residency a year ago. From this dynamic group came the birthing of an incredible year of clinical, political and social synergy.
From the first year, our residency program has achieved its mission, which is education and retention of new nurse practitioners. Starting next month, Jean will transition to Holly Park, Megan will be at Shoreline, and Kim will start at Bellevue clinic. All three are excited to continue their work as new primary care providers for our community. All this wouldn’t have been possible without the vision and strategic planning of our board of directors and executive team, along with the collaboration of ICHS staff and external partners.
It is estimated that in 5 short years, there will be over 200,000 vacant Primary Care Provider (PCP) positions in the United States. Our patient populations continue to grow and yet, there are not enough providers. New graduates nurse practitioners working at community health centers often burn out quickly due to the complexity of Community Health Centers’ patient population. Thus, residency is a viable option to increase the new NPs’ competence and confidence, as well as increasing patient access to care. This is a much-needed pipeline to grow a healthy workforce so that we can continue to serve our community.
So, what’s next for us besides starting the second class in just one week? ICHS is heavily involved with our partners at both the local and national levels, seeking to improve and expand the quality and reach of our program. We are collaborating with the NW chapter of residencies and fellowships to maximize learning opportunities by sharing vision, knowledge and experience. At the national level, we are an active member in the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium, steering accreditation of NP post-graduate training. Our NPs deserve this education. Our patients deserve this quality of care. Our country needs this healthy vibrant work-force. ICHS is energized and ready for the next step.