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CHP's New Family Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Tracks a Growing Trend in Advanced Nursing Practice
08:31AM / Thursday, November 17, 2022
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs (CHP) is now home to a new family nurse practitioner (FNP) residency program, an intensive year-long experience that formalizes post-graduate clinical opportunities for advanced practice nursing graduates. 
The FNP residency is funded in part by a grant of $71,500 from the University of Massachusetts in partnership with Health Resources and Services Administration. 
The FNP residency is a growing trend in the U.S. and in Massachusetts, and the positions are increasingly competitive. Just as medical school graduates routinely serve as medical residents, recent nursing graduates can now gain comparable residency experience alongside more experienced preceptors. The residency also fills in gaps in practical nursing experience, which was curtailed for many nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic which much of primary health care moved to remote telehealth.  
CHP's two new FNP residents are Lauren Young, FNP, and Jennifer Rubino, DNP, FNP-BC. Rubino holds a doctor of nursing practice from Elms College, and Lauren earned her M.S. in nursing from Simmons University. 
The CHP program is led by Molly Rivest, DNP, FNP, of CHP Barrington OB/GYN. She is the program director and serves as a preceptor along with Laura Gariepy, FNP, of Great Barrington Health Center, Rebecca Gamache, FNP, at Neighborhood Health Center and Janell Hostetler, FNP, of Lee Family Practice. Residents float among CHP practices to maximize their exposure to more experienced mentors and areas of specialty, including nutrition and behavioral health.  
In addition to benefiting the residents, the program also benefits CHP: the residency is a recruitment asset for community health centers that often struggle to fill primary care positions, especially in rural areas. Studies show that retention of FNP residents is high following program completion. And the residency also provides mentoring roles for more senior CHP staff who are experts in their areas of practice.  
"We can't overstate enough the importance of family nurse practitioners in general, and specifically, at CHP," said Rick Gregg, interim CEO of CHP. "The nurse practitioner field has been growing rapidly, Massachusetts nurse practitioners now have full practice authority, just as physicians do, and this is a huge benefit to our patients." 
Nurse practitioners now comprise 24 of CHP's 45 primary care providers in Berkshire County. 
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