Magnolia Regional Health Center Launches State’s First Emergency Nurse Practitioner Fellowship

June 12, 2019 11:26 am Published by

Throughout rural Mississippi, emergency settings are experiencing an increase in patient volumes and a shortage of emergency physicians, fueling demands for highly qualified emergency nurse practitioners (ENP).  The role of the ENP requires specialized knowledge and advanced clinical procedural competencies.  Nationally, twelve academic ENP programs exist indicating a gap in specialty preparation and education.  The gap is most evident in rural settings, primarily employing family nurse practitioners (FNP) that rely heavily upon on-the-job education.  As the healthcare system becomes increasingly dynamic and more complex, the challenges for rural emergency settings are even more intensified.

Magnolia Regional Health Center (MRHC) is fortunate to be staffed with Emergency Medicine physicians and nurse practitioners.  In an effort to better serve Mississippi, MRHC has developed the State’s first Emergency Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program to increase access, improve quality, and boost provider and patient satisfaction. 

“I was certain the education and training of a fellowship program would make a difference in quality of patient care, but I did not fully understand the magnitude of positive impact this program would produce,”  said Amanda Comer, DNP, FNP, ACNP, ENP, founder and director for MRHC’s Emergency Nurse Practitioner Fellowship.  “The goals of the ENP fellowship program are to increase quality of care, increase access, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, increase patient satisfaction, increase physician and nurse practitioner satisfaction, increase retention and decrease recruitment costs.  Magnolia Regional Health Center has been a teaching facility for many years.  The Emergency Nurse Practitioner fellowship is another part of the organization’s commitment to learning and developing caregivers within the organization.” 

The intense 18-month postgraduate fellowship combines didactic and clinical experiences to prepare a new nurse practitioner for the emergency setting. The fellows have the opportunity to work side by side with an experienced emergency medicine physician or nurse practitioner caring for complex, high acuity patients.  In addition, the fellows rotate throughout different specialties including anesthesia, cardiology, internal medicine, intensive care, emergency medical services, ultrasound, pediatrics, and ophthalmology. Fellows participate in weekly didactics, a practical application of teaching, and learning is augmented with end of shift discussions, journal club and leadership courses. Upon completion of the program, the nurse practitioner is eligible to sit for the national Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certification examination.

(L to R Back): Japheth Baker, DO, EM Associate Program Director; Amy Davis, MD, Director of Fast Track; Mary Elizabeth Pounders, FNP, ENP; Jeremy Graham, DO, Medical Director of Emergency Department; Mark Lothenore, FNP, ENP; Kathy Fowler, EM Resident Coordinator (L to R Front): Jamie Anderson, EM Academic and Research Coordinator; Ashton Glover, FNP, ENP; Erika Kinman, ENP Fellow; Ramona Perkins, ENP Fellow; Amanda Comer, DNP, FNP, ACNP, ENP, Director of ENP Fellowship; Lisa Bundy, MD, Director of Ultrasound

Gena Lindsey, C-TAGME, serves as the organization’s Designated Institutional Official, in which she oversees all ACGME-accredited programs at MRHC. Faculty for the program includes board certified emergency medicine physicians and emergency nurse practitioners including Doctors Japheth Baker, Joe Bryant, Lisa Bundy, Gene Combest, Amy Davis, Jeremy Graham; ENPs Amanda Comer, Christian Allison, Ashton Glover, Mark Lothenore, and Mary Elizabeth Pounders.  

Out of thirty applicants, two fellows were chosen as the first cohort for MRHC’s ENP Fellowship Program: Erika Kinman and Ramona Perkins. Erika Kinman, FNP, ENP, ENPF, received her Master’s in the Science of Nursing from Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. She graduated from Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, Ark., with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Erika is a current member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Ramona Perkins FNP, ENPF, received her Master’s in the Science of Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colo. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Ramona is a current member of the Emergency Nurse Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners. 

“I am proud of the hard work and effort that went into getting this program off of the ground,” said Ronny Humes, Chief Executive Officer at MRHC. “I think it speaks volumes for the vision our hospital team has. Healthcare is changing every day, and it is programs such as this that will allow MRHC to see continuous growth.”

This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center