It’s no secret that the U.S. is facing a massive dearth of primary care providers. But when we talk about how to build this workforce, we usually focus on physicians. Greater Good Health is taking a different approach by leveraging nurse practitioners.
Greater Good Health emerged from stealth last year as a primary care-focused nurse practitioner network. On Tuesday, the Manhattan Beach, California-based startup launched a clinical leadership program for nurse practitioners to learn from one another. The announcement precedes National Nurse Practitioner Week (November 13-19), which honors these healthcare professionals’ major but often overlooked role in primary care delivery.
The program provides a series of educational sessions for nurse practitioners who want to advance their professional growth and development. The curriculum was built by nurse practitioners and is accredited by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, according to Sylvia Hastanan, Greater Good Health’s CEO and founder.
“It’s intended to be a cohort-based learning program so that nurse practitioners can learn from each other and share experiences,” she said in a recent interview.
The program’s sessions will cover a range of themes. Some will be focused on essential healthcare topics, such as how to keep up with new payment models and how to talk with patients about health misinformation. Others will focus on clinical and operational training, such as how to prevent common diseases and how to ensure patients are receiving timely care.
There also will be sessions dedicated to “soft skills,” such as leadership, emotional intelligence and communication. These kinds of skills are essential for nurse practitioners who are looking to lead a team one day, according to Hastanan.
“The intent for these leaders that go through the program is that they’ll come out of it with better skills to help lead and manage another group of 10-15 nurse practitioners,” she said. “It’s for nurse practitioners who are seeing patients, but may need some administrative and clinical coaching, as well as leadership, to feel like they’re part of a community and a team. It can help with development and learning gaps.”
Through the program, nurse practitioners can earn 16 continuing education credits. It encompasses four sessions, which 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’s 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 the vast majority of her career, she had been working for provider organizations “that have been mostly physicians-centric,” including HealthCare Partners. She would develop leadership programs in which physicians could learn from other physicians, but she said nurse practitioners were always 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 of it,” Hastanan said. “Our business model is centered around what the nurse practitioners bring to the table, and that, in and of itself, sort of flips everything on its head and allows nurse practitioners to lead in ways that they weren’t able to before.”
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