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What is the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship?
If you are a recent graduate of a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) program looking to transition into practice, you could do so under the guidance of some of the most accomplished NNPs in the country. The Children’s Hospital Colorado NNP Fellowship was the first NNP fellowship in the country accredited with distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center Practice Transition Accreditation Program.
Our NNP fellowship is a one-year program that helps NNPs transition to practice in one of the best children’s hospitals in the country. The fellowship is designed to facilitate the transition of a recent NNP graduate from a master’s or doctoral student to a competent and confident NNP. After successful completion of the fellowship, graduates may then be invited to join the Children’s Colorado NNP Program, which supports neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and special care nurseries (SCNs) throughout Colorado’s Front Range region.
The NNP fellowship incorporates precepted clinical practice, educational content, clinical lab and simulation instruction, scholarly project guidance, peer-support and mentorship. We hope to promote life-long learning in NNP practice and aim to recruit and retain top NNPs to the Children’s Colorado NNP Program.
The fellowship allows new NNP graduates to work and learn in a clinical setting while obtaining their requisite licenses and credentials. It also creates a more consistent and formal process to prepare NNPs to confidently lead care autonomously in a NICU or another nursery.
What to expect from the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship
Our competency-based curriculum combines classroom learning with hands-on experience in clinical and lab settings.
Precepted clinical experience
For the first 16 to 20 weeks of fellowship, known as phase one, NNP fellows develop their clinical practice under the one-to-one guidance of experienced NNP preceptors. Most often, NNP fellows practice under a unique job description during Phase I and must be directly supervised by a board-certified, fully credentialed and privileged NNP. At the completion of phase one, NNP fellows should be able to function independently in our NICU on Anschutz Medical Campus, and/or the NICUs at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital (or a combination of sites depending on individual circumstances, learning and staffing needs).
Mentored clinical experience
NNP fellows provide care at their assigned clinical site(s) during phase two of fellowship. Phase two begins with reduced patient loads. The NNP fellows always practice at a site with an experienced NNP who is in-house and available for clinical decision support and mentorship. In the final months of the NNP Fellowship, NNP fellows gradually begin to challenge themselves by incrementally taking more patients with the goal of managing a full patient load at the completion of NNP Fellowship.
NNP fellows meet 1 to 2 times per month with the NNP Education Team for classroom education, procedural skills labs, scholarly project guidance, focus group discussions, and high-fidelity simulation and debriefing experiences. The classroom education sessions and core curriculum focus on the needs of high-acuity neonatal patients, clinical reasoning, communication skills, role transition, ethical decision-making and leadership abilities. We incorporate additional content into each NNP Fellowship based on the cohort’s needs.
NNP fellows will complete a scholarly project with support from expert mentors. Projects typically focus on improvement in the NICU and address outcomes related to clinical issues or process improvement of a system of care. Completed with a NICU interdisciplinary team, the selected project may include evidence-based practice, quality or process improvement, or research. Upon completion, fellows present their project via poster and/or podium presentation prior to graduation from the NNP Fellowship.
In addition to clinical practice and scholarly project mentorship, our fellows are provided one-on-one mentorship by a selected Children’s Colorado NNP mentor. This mentorship relationship is aimed at helping the fellow meet their individual professional development goals and promoting engagement in the Children's Colorado community. As a part of a broader, one year, hospital-wide advanced practice provider (APP) mentorship program, NNP fellows receive education and resources they need to nourish professional engagement beyond clinical practice and promote their career growth.
Work schedules and placements
The fellowship is a one-year, full-time salaried position. Schedules vary to accommodate both education days and clinical time, averaging 40 hours per week. Clinical time includes nights, weekends and holidays. The NNP Education Team will develop a schedule that best addresses the fellow’s learning needs and the preceptor’s availability.
NNP fellows receive the same paid time off and health and retirement benefits as all Children’s Colorado advanced practice registered nurses.
We admit fellows depending on the need and availability of positions in the NNP Program. Once a fellow successfully completes the fellowship requirements and graduate from the program, they may transition to early career NNPs in our NNP Program.
Requirements prior to program start date:
- Graduation with a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing from an accredited NNP program within 15 months preceding the fellowship start date
- Current unencumbered Colorado Registered Nurse (RN) license (or compact multi-state RN license) and current unencumbered Colorado Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and Prescriptive Authority (RXN) licenses (may be Provisional RXN)
- Successful board certification by the National Certification Corporation as an NNP
- Current American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) course completion cards
- Successful completion of all Children’s Colorado employment requirements
How to apply to the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship
The following items are required to complete the application process:
- Statement of intent: Applicants should submit a one-page, 12-point font, double-spaced statement describing their career goals and reasons for pursing the fellowship. Include your career plans and how they might be enhanced by additional training in the fellowship.
- Curriculum vitae (CV): Provide a current CV indicating your education, background, professional experience and other relevant information.
- Three letters of recommendation: Include one letter each from a clinical preceptor or graduate nursing faculty member, manager or supervisor from a current or previous position and an APRN or physician who is familiar with your work.
The 2024-2025 NNP Fellowship application process has closed. Please check back here in early 2025 for more information about our 2025-2026 NNP Fellowship opportunities.
About our accreditation
Children’s Hospital Colorado Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship is accredited with distinction as a Practice Transition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs.
- The current sites included in this accreditation with distinction designation are: Children’s Hospital Colorado
- The current workplace settings included in this accreditation with distinction designation: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit