NEWS | October 23, 2019

UC Davis Health launches nurse practitioner residency program


The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis opens applications today for a new advanced practice residency program for nurse practitioners. The goal of the program, which is funded by a $3.5 million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), is to recruit up to 10 nurse practitioners every year for the next three years to rotate through UC Davis Health-affiliated centers, as well as community clinics in underserved areas throughout Northern California.

Clinical Professor Debra Bakerjian leads a new residency program for nurse practitioners in a partnership between UC Davis Health and health systems in underserved communities. Clinical Professor Debra Bakerjian leads a new residency program for nurse practitioners in a partnership between UC Davis Health and health systems in underserved communities.

When implemented, the Advanced Primary care Residency in Addiction, Chronic care, Telehealth, Improvement science, Collaboration and Equity (NP-PRACTICE) initiative will equip new primary care nurse practitioners to provide excellent services to patients in under-resourced areas through education and clinical rotations.

A nurse practitioner primary care residency is a post-graduate training program that provides new nurse practitioners an opportunity to receive intense focused training. Nurse practitioner residencies prepare the next generation of leaders in primary care by increasing their competency in providing expert primary care to manage clinical and social complexities as well as skills in practice transformation, quality improvement and population health.

“Ultimately, this will enhance the nurse practitioner profession and expand capacity in provider shortage areas,” said Debra Bakerjian, School of Nursing clinical professor and principal investigator. “Residents who attend our program will leave with the skills and expertise to lead in primary care settings and will also gain greater competence in specialty care and practice management.”

Bakerjian said this is the first nurse practitioner residency program funded by HRSA. As such, many of the initiative’s goals align with federal priorities, including opioid-use reduction, value-based care delivery, telehealth and workforce development.

Residency programs for postgraduate physicians have been common practice for more than 100 years. That is not the case for nurses. Answering the call for residency programs from the 2010 Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” postgraduate residencies for nurse practitioners have emerged in the last decade. In a national study by the Veterans Administration (VA) of nurse practitioners who completed a similar postgraduate training program at the VA, “respondents universally agreed it improved confidence and competence…allowing them to independently care for medically complex patients.”

A recent report by the California Future Health Workforce Commission called for increasing the number of health workers by more than 47,000 people and the supply of health professionals who come from and train in rural and other underserved communities.

“Many advanced practice providers have limited practical experience applying their educational knowledge in the exam room. Without a structured residency program in place after graduation, new providers often feel unproductive and unsuccessful in their first year in clinic,” said Greg Stone, CEO of Peach Tree Health. “Partnering with a nurse practitioner residency program provides the ideal blend of continued clinical education and real-life practical application needed to develop the core skills needed for a successful career in health care.” 

The UC Davis Health service area includes 33 mostly rural counties with 6.1 million ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse residents. This initiative addresses goals of UC Davis Health ultimately to reduce care disparities and work with others to form partnerships that solve underserved patients’ underlying care issues.

“We are doing all we can to improve access to health care in underserved communities, including developing more programs to train doctors and advanced practice nurses who can treat patients in the urban core,” said David Lubarsky, UC Davis Health CEO. “This is another step in our expanding commitment to bringing more health care providers to underserved patients and address the health inequities and workforce shortages which make getting health care services a challenge. This is part of our core mission: Provide the best care possible to everyone who needs us, as conveniently as possible.”

During the 12-month residency, nurse practitioners will spend six months providing clinical services in a primary care setting, then six months rotating through various specialties, as well as telehealth, pain management and wound care. The primary care rotations will take place in Federally Qualified Health Centers, such as the Sacramento County Health Center, Western Sierra Medical Clinic and Peach Tree Health, as well as departments within the UC Davis Health network. Working with mentors and preceptors, the residents will experience practice in underserved areas, learn how to collaborate with other members of the health care team, and practice health equity with all patients, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status.

Nurse practitioners eligible for the residency program must be within 18 months (December 2018 - June 2020) of graduating from an accredited family nurse practitioner or adult gerontological program and have an unrestricted California Board of Registered Nursing license. The application period is open now through Jan. 6, 2020. Selected applicants begin the program July 1, 2020.

For details about the resident program and application requirements, visit or view an overview video. For more information on the School of Nursing and its programs, visit