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Launch of A Residency Program for Nurse Practitioners 

 New nurse practitioner (NP) graduates have few options for post-graduate training because post-grad residencies are a relatively new development in the field. 

The Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri is helping to change that. It recently became the first federally qualified community health center in the state to offer an NP residency program. 

“This is something we’re really excited about” said Ginger Vaughn-Pullin, an NP who is Director of Quality and Clinical Programs at Sam Rodgers. The program is emblematic of the center’s pioneering spirit, evident since its founding in 1968, when it because the first federally recognized health center in Missouri, and only the fourth of its kind in the nation. 

The 12-month residency started in September with four recent graduates, all of whom hail from the Kansas City area. The program includes rotations through the center’s various service areas, such as pediatrics and radiology, as well as mentoring by experienced clinicians. 

Kansas City has a diverse population that includes numerous resettled refugees, and the center’s community health workers introduce program participants to working with patients from many countries and ethnic backgrounds. More than half of the center’s patients are not native English speakers, so the center uses bilingual staff and translation services to fill the gap. Two of the four NPs in the program are bilingual, one in Spanish and one in Arabic. 

Vaughn-Pullin said she hopes the experience will give participants a real appetite for working with uninsured and underserved patients by the time they complete their year-long stints. “If they don’t end up working with us, we hope they go to another community health center.”