In preparation for the fast-paced nature of working in the Emergency Department (ED), Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates (MEMA) offers a post-graduate certificate program that bridges the transition from healthcare schooling to full-time employment in the ED.
It’s called the Advanced Practice Providers (APP) post-graduate training program, a six-month course offered twice a year that combines didactic (classroom) instruction, hands-on job training, and mentorship. Given the pressurized environment of emergency medicine, the program is uniquely tailored for graduates from Physician Assistant (PA) programs and Nurse Practitioner (NP) school, laying the groundwork so they can meet those unique demands.
“[The program] is designed to help them have a longer career in emergency medicine,” says Patrick DeVane, director of the program and a practicing emergency medicine PA at MEMA. “If we can make an effort to help with their transition and help them not get too discouraged–should they find it a difficult place to work–this training improves their practice.”
The primary goal of the program is simple: to develop competency and readiness to practice in the highly specialized and demanding environment of emergency care. The better equipped new grads are to handle the stress, pace, and unpredictability of the ED, the better retention MEMA hopes to maintain for its workers. Trainings like this one are a resume builder for a reason: it boosts credentials in a field where hospitals often require a year or two of experience for new hires to the ED.
Noting the higher rates of burnout and exits in emergency medicine, MEMA recognized a unique need for newcomers entering the field. So Kathleen Jordan, a long-time nurse practitioner with MEMA, decided to fill that gap with a formalized training program. She developed the course curriculum and became the program’s first director in 2018. She led the fledgling program while also teaching as a professor for the doctoral NP program at UNC Charlotte, and practicing emergency medicine for MEMA.
Years later, in 2021, DeVane took over as Director, and Jordan remained on as Assistant Director. As Jordan did as Director, DeVane also continues to see patients on a full-time basis and work in EDs throughout the Charlotte area.
Prospective trainees can apply each fall and spring. Once accepted into the program, each class (kept small at two to four trainees) can expect a combination of didactic training to supplement their healthcare schooling, with hands-on training designed to mimic the day-to-day duties in the ED. Additionally, trainees are paired with a seasoned preceptor, a mentor-like figure who can answer questions, offer guidance, and support each trainee in developing valuable skills, such as quick decision-making and triaging.
DeVane understands that for those newer to the ED, there are many factors that can make work especially difficult: an unpredictable daily environment; the constant prospect of facing complex medical issues and life threatening ailments; and providing care for all kinds of people, some of whom may have behavioral disorders or who may otherwise resist receiving care. This creates, as DeVane puts it, “a tough, complex, fast-paced, stressful pattern to adjust to,” one that’s not for everybody.
But, in spite of the nature of emergency medicine, MEMA’s innovative approach to this program builds on the basic educational preparation accomplished through the graduate academic curriculum. APPs will acquire enhanced clinical proficiencies to promote a successful transition to practice through an interprofessional approach, among a team of highly qualified emergency care providers. Additionally, the professional opportunity to collaborate with other specialties often appeals to many.
On the future of emergency medicine, there will always be demand for workers. “We’ve evolved to meet the needs of the community,” says DeVane. “We provide open access to care for people who may not otherwise be able to get it. We are always open and available. If the need for emergency care grows, we’re right there.”
Who should apply for this training? “Any PA or NP graduate who wants to work in the ED,” DeVane answers.
For more information about the program, interested applicants can contact DeVane at email@example.com or visit www.mema.net/mema-advanced-practice-provider-fellowship-program/.