What Are Nursing Fellowships & How to Qualify For One

What Are Nursing Fellowships & How to Qualify For One

Whether you’re a newly licensed nurse or a nurse with experience who’s hoping to try something new in the profession, there can be an often overwhelming amount of new information to learn.

For those nurses looking to advance and excel in their careers, whether because they’re new to the field or transitioning to something else for the first time in years, nursing fellowships are an excellent way to help ease the transition. 

What Are Nursing Fellowships?

Nursing fellowships are available for registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in many different specialties. The main goals of these types of programs are to help nurses advance in their careers or successfully transition from one specialty to another. 

Nurse fellowships and nurse residency programs often go hand in hand, and it’s not uncommon to find them offered together as options for nurses. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Practice Transition Accreditation Program accredits both residency and fellowship programs, which they define as transition programs

Per ANCC definitions, RN residencies as meant for nurses with less than 12 months of work experience; RN fellowships are meant for experienced nurses transitioning to a new specialty or setting, and APRN fellowships are for newly certified advanced practice nurses.

However, although the ANCC separates residencies and fellowships dependent on the registered nurse’s previous work experience, some programs that are labeled as nursing fellowships may be open to recently graduated nurses as well as experienced nurses looking to transition. 

As you look for nursing fellowships, you’ll want to clarify what their exact qualifications are.

Why Apply for a Nursing Fellowship?

Nursing work can be incredibly stressful, and that’s especially true when you’re new to the work, whether you’ve recently graduated or are changing specialties. There’s so much to learn, and the fast-paced environment of a hospital unit or floor means you’re often learning as you go and hoping you don’t make too many mistakes in the process. 

Such pressure can increase nurse turnover or burnout, and that’s an outcome that neither nurses nor facilities want. Nurse fellowships attempt to solve that issue by giving nurses the support, resources, and mentorship they need to excel in the field and in their specialty. 

Where Can I Find Nursing Fellowships?

In order to qualify for nursing fellowships, you’ll need to be a licensed RN or APRN. Depending on whether the program is specifically targeted for newly graduated nurses or nurses who are looking to transition to a new specialty, you may also need nursing work experience.

It’ll vary between programs how many months or years of experience a nurse applicant should have in order to qualify for the fellowship. Some programs might require nurses to have worked at least six months to several years as a nurse, so you’ll want to pay close attention to whether or not you qualify as you look for fellowships. 

Additionally, each nursing fellowship focuses on different specialties and aspects of the profession. For example, one fellowship might focus on critical care while another focuses on building a nurse’s leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Knowing where you want to go in your career will help you narrow down what fellowships to look for. 

Some places you can begin looking for nurse fellowships include the following:

Nursing is a difficult job, but there are ways to become an expert in the field without the stress of trial and error. 

If you’re new to the field or looking to switch up specialties and try something new, a nurse fellowship program may be just the thing you need to excel in your career. 

Michelle Paul

Michelle Paul is an RN Content Specialist at Clipboard Health. She has worked with a variety of patient demographics, ranging from young adults in foreign countries, to elderly residents in skilled nursing facilities, to healthy blood donors in her community. Her experience in content creation gives her a unique perspective on communication within the healthcare field.

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