Association of Post Graduate APRN Programs

Member Feature: Mike Pisa, Program Director for Advanced Practice Fellowships at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Posted about 1 month ago

Special thanks to APGAP President Mike Pisa for being our featured Board Member for the month of June! If you'd like to be featured, please let us know!

Tell us about your current professional position and what it entails.

I am currently the Program Director for Advanced Practice Fellowships at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In this role, I have administrative responsibility for our class of AP fellows in Critical Care, Cardiology, and Emergency Medicine. I am actively involved in both programmatic maintenance and growth as we look thoughtfully towards expansion to include additional specialty tracks and health system institutions.  I also work clinically as an advanced practice provider in trauma and surgical critical care.

Why do you believe fellowships are important for NPs?

Advanced practice providers are being charged with entering practice in increasingly complex, high acuity, and high volume care environments in which they are called upon to practice in many cases with a great deal of autonomy in executing safe and effective care. While graduate programs in advanced practice provide a strong foundation of medical knowledge and the general approach to the care of a wide variety of patients, additional training is often needed to support the ability of a new advanced practice provider graduate to practice in the way they are called upon to do. Fellowships are a mechanism through which health systems can provide such training in a way that is separate from an orientation to a job allowing a focus on learning the skills and knowledge to provide patient care rather than the skills and knowledge needed to fulfill the requirements of a job description.

How do you see NPs grow and develop throughout their fellowship experience?

In addition to gaining fund of knowledge, our fellows are pushed to exercise their critical thinking and decision-making. By the end of the fellowship, they are primed to enter our advanced practice workforce and competent providers. 

Tell us about the fellowship program at the University of Pennsylvania - how long has it been in place? How many fellows have you all had? Where do you see the program going in the future?

Starting in 2014, we are currently in our 10th cohort of critical care fellows, our 3rd of emergency medicine, and our 2nd of cardiology. To date, we have graduated 73 fellows: 39 PAs (53%), 34 NPs (47%). We are looking thoughtfully at the prospect of creating additional subspecialty tracks and possibly expanding to collaborate with additional hospitals in our health system on the creation of fellowship tracks.      

What would be your recommendation to other NPs who want to start fellowship programs?

The case for fellowship at any given institution must be built around what needs the fellowship can fulfill for the institution. We have demonstrated the ability to train exceptional providers, that bring a wealth of varied experience that fellowship provides to whatever service our trainees land on post fellowship. This has proven our program to be an extremely effective workforce planning tool for our institution. 

Why are you an APGAP member? What do you like most about APGAP?

I currently sit as the President of APGAP. I have immensely enjoyed working with this group of brilliant and driven program administrators from across the country. Through our interactions, I have gained many insights that have allowed me to improve my own program. It also has been an exceptional opportunity to participate in initiatives aimed at fostering the growth of advanced practice postgraduate training. 

What would you say to someone who was considering joining APGAP?

I’d say if you are a program administrator or someone looking to develop a post-graduate training program, APGAP is the place to be. There is no other space that affords the opportunity to interact with such a wide variety of field experts who are motivated to share ideas in support of post-graduate training for advanced practice providers. 

What is your current position on the APGAP board? Have you held previous positions? If so, what are they?

I currently sit as President of APGAP and have previously sat as co-chair for education. 


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