It’s no secret that the US is facing a huge deficit of primary care providers. But when we talk about how to build that workforce, we tend to focus on physicians. Better health took a different approach by using nurse practitioners.
Greater Good Health appeared from stealth last year as a network of nurse practitioners focused on primary care. On Tuesday, the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based startup launched clinical leadership program for nurse practitioners to learn from each other. The message precedes National Nurse Practitioner Week (November 13-19), which honors the essential but often overlooked role of these healthcare professionals in providing primary care.
The program provides a series of educational sessions for nurse practitioners who want to advance their professional growth and development. The curriculum was created by nurse practitioners and is accredited by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, according to Sylvia Hastanan, CEO and founder of Greater Good Health.
“This is intended to be a cohort training program so that nurse practitioners can learn from each other and share experiences,” she said in a recent interview.
The program sessions will cover a range of topics. Some will focus on basic health care topics, such as how to stay abreast of new payment models and how to talk to patients about health misinformation. Others will focus on clinical and operational training, such as how to prevent common illnesses and how to ensure patients receive timely care.
There will also be sessions dedicated to ‘soft skills’ such as leadership, emotional intelligence and communication. These types of skills are essential for nurse practitioners who want to lead a team one day, according to Hastanan.
“The intention of these leaders who go through the program is to come out of it with better skills to help lead and manage another group of 10-15 nurse practitioners,” she said. “This is for nurse practitioners who see patients but may need administrative and clinical training as well as leadership to feel part of a community and a team. It can help with developmental and learning gaps.”
Through the program, nurse practitioners can earn 16 continuing education credits. It covers four sessions that take place over four months.
The program is currently only available by invitation to select nurse practitioners who are part of the Greater Good Health network in California, but the company plans to expand the program to additional nurse practitioners in other states “in the near future.”
Hastanan noted that for most of her career, she has worked for provider organizations “that are primarily physician-oriented,” including HealthCare Partners. She will develop leadership programs where doctors can learn from other doctors, but she said nurse practitioners have always been excluded from these types of professional development programs.
“What we’re doing here that’s different is we’re thinking about redesigning primary care with nurse practitioners at the center,” Hastanan said. “Our business model is centered around what nurse practitioners bring to the table, and that in itself turns everything upside down and allows nurse practitioners to lead in ways they couldn’t before.”
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