USF Health new program offers fellowships for advanced practice providers

Video, photos and article by Allison Long

This summer, Jennifer Krawczyk, MS, APRN, helped USF Health break new ground.

Krawczyk in June 2019 became the first graduate of USF Health’s Advanced Practice Provider Neurological Fellowship, a year-long program aimed at giving advanced practice nurses and physician assistants further expertise in neurosurgery.

Jennifer Krawczyk, MS, APRN, AGACNP-BC, was all smiles near her mother and brother during a celebration of Krawczyk being the first graduate of the advanced practice provider neurosurgical fellowship.

The program, co-administered through USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair and the USF College of Nursing, is the first of its kind in the United States, which weighed on Krawczyk’s decision to apply in 2018.

“The opportunity to pioneer as the first neurosurgical fellow for advance practice providers in the nation was something I couldn’t pass up,” said Krawczyk, who earned her bachelor and master in science degrees from USF in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

She said she chose neurosurgery chiefly because the subject matter was daunting for her.

“Neurosurgery was an area I found challenging,” she said. “What better way to conquer that challenge and reservation about a specialty than to just dive right in?”

As a fellow, Krawczyk was able to experience facets of neurosurgery that advanced practice providers often miss because they typically are working on the floor. She said these experiences helped fine-tune her clinical expertise and provide more in-depth training.

“I think without the fellowship the knowledge and skills I have now would have taken me years to develop,” Krawczyk said.

Jennifer Krawczyk (left), photographed with Harry van Loveren, MD, professor and chairman of USF Health department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, during a celebration for Krawczyk for being the first graduate of the advanced practice provider neurosurgical fellowship.

It is that type of opportunity that persuaded officials with the USF Health’s Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair and the USF College of Nursing to volunteer to be the first specialty to offer this type of fellowship.

“It (the fellowship) had so many potential benefits, we didn’t think twice about participating,” said Harry van Loveren, MD, a USF Health professor and the neurosurgery department’s chairman. “We are extremely proud that (Krawczyk) was the first student to graduate from this program.”

The complex and varied treatments for conditions and diseases associated with neurosurgery also influenced officials to experiment with helping further develop advanced practice providers.

“We started with neurosurgery because it takes a while to become familiar with the nuances,” said Marcia Johansson, DNPO, ARNP, who is a USF Health assistant professor in the College of Nursing as well as director of the Advanced Practice fellowship.  These nuances, Johansson said, “make it very necessary to have some specialty training.”

 

Jennifer Krawczyk, MS, APR, with a neurosurgery patient at Tampa General Hospital in August 2019.

Based on Krawczyk’s success, the fellowship will continue. Currently, there are three advanced practice fellows participating in the program, including fellows in neurosurgery, oncology (in partnership with the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute) and otolaryngology.

“They (the advanced care providers) are now ingrained in the systems, they have developed friendships, and they have improved their education,” Dr. Johansson said. “Fellowships are going to become the norm for advanced care providers.”

Advanced practice fellows are hired by USF Health during the year-long program and earn 80 percent of their normal salary as well as benefits.

Krawczyk’s success, ensures the fellowship will continue and future advanced practice provider will be receiving certificates from Marcia Johansson (left), DNP, APRN.