This 12-month post-graduate Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) residency provides additional skills training as well as independent mentorship experience in a community health center. The intensive clinical program prepares FNPs to meet the needs of the culturally diverse and clinically complex patients who are typical of a community health center practice.  This residency is the first nurse practitioner residency in the state, and the first in the country which integrates nurse practitioner residency training with family medicine physician residency training.

In 2019, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center partnered with the University of Massachusetts Worcester Graduate School of Nursing, Family Health Center of Worcester and other sites to expand the innovative model.  The partners successfully applied for four years of funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The first year of grant supports two residents and planning for the expansion of the FNP residency; with eight residents planned in year two and ten residents in each of years three and four.

During this residency, FNP residents will work in a full service Patient-Centered Medical Home, side by side with clinicians experienced in treating a diverse patient population, and who understand the importance of population health management.  These clinical leaders also have close ties to and participate in programs with the UMass Medical School.  Within the health centers’ family practice model, FNPs will be exposed to a wide variety of health care services including chronic disease management, medication-assisted treatment, integrated behavioral health care, LGBTQ+ care, global health, and HIV services.  Within the health center sites in Worcester, FNPs will also have the opportunity to engage in a variety of programs and services that enhance care delivery.  Quality improvement initiatives, programs addressing the social determinants of health, and group visits are just a few of the many opportunities for FNPs to hone their skills and find their own path in the clinical world. The health centers also use a variety of technology tools, including a patient portal, an electronic health record and other clinical technology to enhance its health care services.

Family nurse practitioner residents develop and maintain their own panel of patients to facilitate continuity of care. The hallmarks of this residency include distance learning opportunities for the FNP residents along with the family medicine residents and skilled preceptors for clinical expertise and mentorship during clinical sessions. Residents are employees of their residency employment site and will comply with all patient care policies as such. It is anticipated that each resident will show clinical growth, improved clinical confidence, and increased perceived preparedness by the end of this NP residency.

Residency Goals:

  • Improve clinical confidence
  • Enhance provider autonomy
  • Develop skills that improve patient care outcomes
  • Better prepare to meet the needs of complex patients
  • Improve job satisfaction in Community Health
  • Improve provider retention

For more information or to apply, please visit Family Health Center of Worcester’s website.

About the Partners 

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Kennedy Community Health) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which provides comprehensive care to a multi-cultural patient population, the majority of whom are at disparate risk for chronic disease and poor health outcomes. Founded in a Worcester housing project in 1972, today Kennedy Community has three health care sites, two dental sites, two optometry practices and six school-based centers throughout Central Mass and MetroWest. Serving as the medical home for many refugees and immigrants, the Health Center’s patient population speaks over 90 different languages. Currently 28,000+ patients of all ages receive care through the center’s family practice model, a comprehensive approach to the delivery of quality primary and urgent care, medical specialties, nutrition counseling, dental care, optometry, pharmacy, laboratory, behavioral health, social services, and health education.  Kennedy Community Health is also a leader in LGBTQ+ health care, provides Medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, and offers a comprehensive HIV program.

Family Health Center of Worcester, also an FQHC, serves over 35,000 patients  from the greater Worcester area in over 55 different languages. Services include comprehensive Primary Care and Family Medicine, Maternal Child Health, Dentistry, Mental and Behavioral health, Vision Care, a Walk In Center for Urgent and Primary care, a low-cost pharmacy, lab, radiology and digital mammography, a Refugee Health Clinic, a Teen Health Clinic, the Health Care for Homeless Families Program, HIV counseling and testing, health education and promotion programming, and public health programs for the early detection and prevention of disease. FHCW also operates 7 school health centers within the Worcester Public Schools and five WIC (Women Infant & Children) offices throughout the greater Worcester area.

Additional clinical partners will be engaged over the course of the grant.  These partners, located across Massachusetts, also bring a commitment to train health professionals to care for diverse populations and offer a wide range of learning opportunities and clinical practice. 

The UMass Worcester Graduate School of Nursing offers academic programs in masters, post-masters and doctoral education, preparing students, professionals and advanced practice nurses for faculty, research and other nursing leadership positions.  As a partner in this grant, GSN faculty bring expertise in curriculum design and competency development, evaluation, and distance learning.