The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has successfully developed a professional advancement program for advanced practice providers (APPs). After 2 years of implementation, more than half of all APPs who applied for advancement through the program achieved their goals, according to findings in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.
The program is designed to promote professional growth and development as well as accomplishments and activities of all APPs in the Center for Advanced Practice, regardless of their role and/or practice setting at CHOP. The program offers all APPs the ability to advance, with the highest levels being clinical leader expert or clinical leader master, based on years of experience and proven accomplishments at the local, organizational, or international level. The program offers support and mentorship to all of the more than 700 APPs employed at CHOP, even if they do not seek advancement.
“The APP role is a career, not just a job, and this program recognizes and supports our APPs on their journey and gives guidance for each step in their path,” said lead author of the study Amy Scholtz, MSN, RN, who is manager of the Center for Advanced Practice at CHOP.
“This program was developed by APPs for APPs, and it encourages expertise in clinical practice, leadership, professionalism, scholarship, and education,” the researchers explained. The program recognizes APPs for their achievements in the form of professional development funds for continued growth through attending conferences, contributing to journals or textbooks, and participating in scholarly activities or other continuing education opportunities. All APPs at CHOP are automatically entered into the program, and applications are only needed to advance to higher levels.
Outcomes of APP Advancement Program
In year 1, 116 APPs submitted their intent to apply form and 82 submitted applications, 75 (93%) of whom met the criteria for advancement. Four APPs applied for APP Clinical Leader Master but met the criteria for APP Clinical Leader Expert, and 3 who applied for Clinical Leader Expert met the criteria for APP Clinical Leader Master. Seven APPs did not meet the criteria for either of these levels and were encouraged to resubmit their application in the next cycle.
In year 2, 84 APPs submitted their intent to apply form and 68 submitted applications, 60 (76%) of whom met the criteria for advancement. One candidate who applied for APP Clinical Leader Master better met the criteria for Clinical Leader Expert, and 3 APPs who applied for Clinical Leader Expert better met the criteria for the APP Clinical Leader Master. Six APPs in year 2 did not meet the criteria for either of these levels and were encouraged to resubmit their application the following year.
Overall, 54% of eligible APPs (137 out of 252) who submitted applications over 2 cycles have advanced.
What Motivates APPs to Apply for Advancement?
Findings from a follow-up questionnaire sent to APPs after the first cycle (response rate, 68%) showed that the main reasons for pursuing the APP Advancement Program were professional advancement and recognition of accomplishments. Nearly all of the respondents (95%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the number and type of accomplishments required for the categories and the submission process.
For those APPs who did not meet the criteria for advancement after 2 cycles, committee members met with candidates to provide support and clarify any questions about the application. In the future, the researchers will continue to follow APPs to determine if the program affects the level of engagement, turnover rate, and clinical care outcomes at CHOP.
Scholtz AK, Ogle S, Berry A, Picard B, Keashen R, Felix A, Bailer A, Hobbie W. Supporting advanced practice providers through the development and implementation of an advanced practice provider professional advancement program. J Pediatr Health Care. 2022;36(2):174-180. doi:10.1016/j.pedhc.2021.02.003