Advanced Practice Provider Orientation

Opportunity

For many years, OSF HealthCare did not have a standardized way to onboard Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), meaning each facility across the Ministry had their own orientation programming for new advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. This led to difficult transitions for many of these new hires and a lack of connection with similar colleagues to discuss issues in a safe environment. Employee turnover in this group was at 14 percent.

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Solution

Newly developed leadership in Advanced Practice set out to ensure new APPs have all of the resources they need to be successful providers within OSF HealthCare. In collaboration with Jump Simulation, they developed a three-day orientation program that begins with two full days of in-seat and simulation-based education. The third day is reserved for a month later after learners have had the chance to employ their skills and can come back to address any further concerns.    

Impact

Participants achieved scores greater than 80 percent on knowledge assessments for a majority of tested content areas following the orientation. Six months after their training, learners reported positive impact of the program on their skills in the clinical space. Employee turnover also dropped to a little over 2 percent.    

”As we continue to dramatically increase the number of Advanced Practice Providers in our system over the next couple of years, we want to make sure we are putting the right foot forward at the very beginning. We’re saying that as soon as you enter our Ministry, we are going to connect with you and give you the resources you need to be successful in your role.”

- Lisa Pierce, Director of Advanced Practice Providers, OSF HealthCare.

Making a Smooth Transition for Advanced Practice Providers

To expand access to care, OSF Innovation, launched Care Transformation in 2015, an effort to redesign the urgent and primary care clinic model, allowing all clinicians the opportunity to impact the health, wellness and outcomes of our population. As a result, OSF HealthCare began hiring more Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) who could take on their own patients and give physicians the opportunity to focus on more complex cases. 

This meant OSF HealthCare would need a standardized way to onboard this influx of APPs to ensure a successful transition and prevent employee turnover. For years, the health care system did not have a consistent orientation program for this group of providers, leading to difficult transitions for many of these new hires and a lack of connection with similar colleagues to discuss issues in a safe environment. Employee turnover in this group was at 14 percent.

That, along with national recommendations, prompted newly developed leadership in Advanced Practice to develop an orientation program to ensure newly hired APPs have all of the resources they need to be successful providers within OSF HealthCare. The onboarding process is for any new APP hire, regardless of experience.

APP Orientation

In collaboration with Jump Simulation, APP leadership developed a three-day orientation program that begins with two full days of in-seat and simulation-based education. The third day is reserved for a month later after learners have had the chance to employ their skills and can come back to address any further concerns.   

The in-seat clinical work gives APPs the chance to brush up on knowledge and skills they learned in school, including chest x-ray and EKG interpretation. There is also discussion about professionalism, the goals of OSF HealthCare and all of the services offered within the health care system.

The simulations allow APPs to practice breaking bad news to patients and their families, running code blue situations and gaining experience in how to best communicate with co-workers. In one scenario, an APP doesn’t agree with the decision a collaborating physician has made and has to apply the use of strategic communication skills to discuss the matter further.

“Having good, open relationships where you can have crucial conversations with co-workers improves the relationship among the team. Otherwise, issues fester, people get upset and then they leave and move on. We are trying to give them the skills to have a better collaborative relationship with each other.”

- Lisa Pierce, Director of Advanced Practice Providers, OSF HealthCare.

Experienced OSF HealthCare APPs help deliver content during the orientation and act as mentors. Having one standardized onboarding process gives all new Advanced Providers the opportunity to meet each another and act as support in the future. Participants are given 24 hours of continuing education credit. 

Orientation Benefits

Those participating in the APP orientation achieved scores greater than 80 percent on knowledge assessments for a majority of tested content areas following the orientation. Six months after their training, learners reported positive impact of the program on skills they used in their clinical practice, such as chest x-ray and ECG interpretation and ordering supportive services for their patients. Employee turnover also dropped from 14 percent to just over 2 percent.   

It’s our belief the program is a great tool for retaining the best and brightest to OSF HealthCare. It shows our commitment to better integrating APPs into the system and demonstrates that we have a process for them to become successful in their roles.