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New fellowship bolsters transplant nurse training

Sep. 6, 2018, 9:16 AM

Kaitlyn Chapin, MSN, RN, center, is the first transplant nurse fellow. Here, she is with Deonna Moore, PhD, RN, ACNP, left, and Briana Witherspoon, DNP, RN, ACNP. (photo by Anne Rayner)

by Matt Batcheldor

Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nursing has launched the Jerita Payne Transplant Nurse Practitioner Fellowship, one of the first of its kind in the country. The fellowship is a memorial to Jerita Payne, MSN, ACNP, MMHC, the late director of Clinical Transplant Services, who devoted her career to the care of transplant patients and the advancement of transplant nursing.

Payne had been working for several years to develop the fellowship before passing last year. Her goal was to develop a program that trained the future generations of transplant nurse practitioners.  As one of the largest multi-organ transplant centers in the county, Vanderbilt University Medical Center is uniquely positioned to develop and implement such a fellowship.

The yearlong program, which started in July, gives the fellow an in-depth experience in all aspects of transplantation, said Deonna Moore, PhD, RN, ACNP, administrative director for Transplant Services.

“Because transplantation is such a specialized field, it is challenging to find experienced transplant nurse practitioners,” she said. “This program provides an opportunity for the fellow to be trained in multiple organ programs — heart, liver, lung, kidney and pancreas — which is unique for an advanced practice provider in transplantation.”

Moore added, “There are many advantages to a nurse practitioner fellowship — one of which is the opportunity to retain an extensively trained transplant nurse practitioner after the fellowship ends.”

Kaitlyn Chapin, MSN, RN, from Buffalo, New York, is the first transplant fellow. She said getting the fellowship is a dream inspired by her mother, a kidney transplant nurse coordinator.

“It’s always been kind of an interest of mine,” she said. “I always thought it was exciting when she got to call patients in for a transplant.”

Chapin, who graduated with her Master’s earlier this year from Daemen College near Buffalo, noted that the first year is a difficult one for nurse practitioners moving from college to fast-paced clinical practice. “I think it will make me a well-rounded transplant nurse practitioner and allow for an easier transition into practice,” she said.

Fellows will complete two six-week rotations though each organ system. The fellowship also offers a didactic curriculum by using the American Society of Transplantation training modules, which include a wide range of topics in transplantation. Other opportunities include leadership-specific courses and a required project that must result in an abstract submitted for publication or presentation. The fellowship also includes training and a certificate in the business of transplantation through a partnership with the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

Nurse practitioners are part of a multidisciplinary team that provides care for transplant patients across a continuum, Moore said. The specialty of transplantation is a collaborative effort to provide care for complex patients with end-stage organ failure prior to transplant, while they are on the transplant wait list and after transplantation.  Many of these patients are under the care of the transplant team for life.

Briana Witherspoon, DNP, ACNP, fellowship director, noted that this is the second fellowship that VUMC has launched recently. It began an Emergency Medicine fellowship in December and plans to launch a Urology fellowship in October and Colorectal fellowship in January. A community-based primary care fellowship is also in development.

“There is just this whole year of opportunity outside of what would be offered in a typical orientation for a new nurse practitioner,” she said. “The National Academy of Medicine supports these transitions to practice programs, and we’re anticipating the data from these fellowships will show increased satisfaction and improved performance.”

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