An Advanced Practice Provider Clinical Fellowship as a Pipeline to Staffing a Hospitalist Program
BACKGROUND: Approximately 83% of hospitalist groups around the country utilize advanced practice providers; however, the demand for hospitalists continues to exceed the supply, and this has led to increased utilization of advanced practice providers in hospital medicine. Advanced practice providers receive very limited inpatient training, and there is wide variation in their clinical abilities after graduation.
OBJECTIVE: To determine if an advanced practice provider fellowship is a cost-effective pipeline for filling vacancies within a hospitalist program.
METHODS: In 2014, a one-year advanced practice providers clinical fellowship in hospital medicine was established. Working one-on-one with an experienced hospitalist faculty member, the fellows evaluate and manage patients. The program consists of 80% clinical experience, in the inpatient setting, and 20% didactic instruction. Up to four fellows are accepted each year and are eligible for hire, after training, if there are vacancies.
RESULTS: The duration of onboarding and cost to the division were significantly reduced after implementation of the program (25.4 vs 11.0 weeks, P = .017 and $361,714 vs $66,000, P = .004).
CONCLUSION: The advanced practice provider fellowship has proven beneficial for the hospitalist division by (1) reducing costs associated with having unfilled vacancies, (2) improving capacity on the hospitalist service, and (3) providing a pipeline for filling nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistant (PA) vacancies on the hospitalist service.