GW Nursing and Optum Partner on Leading-Edge Fellowship

Partnership strengthens delivery of patient care to vulnerable populations.

December 13, 2021

The George Washington University School of Nursing has entered into a partnership with Optum, a major national health care provider, for a leading-edge fellowship program focused on complex adult and geriatric patient care and tailored to Optum.

This partnership will directly strengthen the delivery of patient care to vulnerable populations at a critical time in our nation.

Through this complex Adult and Geriatric Fellowship program, 60 advanced practice nurses from Optum are coming to GW annually to elevate their leadership and clinical competencies in this critical field. The rigorous, 12-month, post-graduate fellowship provides Optum’s new advanced practice nurses with high level skills to better manage across care settings for complex adult and geriatric patients, who often have chronic diseases that require close monitoring.

Joyce Knestrick, an associate professor in GW Nursing’s Acute and Chronic Care faculty community and director of the Nursing Leadership and Management option in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, serves as the fellowship faculty lead. Dr. Knestrick  said she’s excited about this new partnership “in which GW brings the educational expertise, and Optum brings its newly hired advanced practice nurses for a rigorous fellowship and preceptor experience to further elevate their nursing leadership and clinical skills.”

Said GW Nursing Interim Dean Pamela Slaven-Lee: “We are proud to be collaborating with Optum and providing this tailored fellowship program that will directly affect the delivery of care to vulnerable populations and which also serves as a model for future collaborations between academic institutions and health care providers.”

The educational components of the program launch in fall 2022 with an inaugural cohort of 20 fellows. The fellows will take online courses developed by GW Nursing and customized for Optum, with subjects including complex adult and geriatric care across settings, palliative care and ​​geriatric psychology. Additionally, fellows will have the opportunity to transfer up to six credits of approved coursework toward GW Nursing’s doctor of nursing practice degree.

“Optum supports the health of millions of American seniors and we deeply understand the challenges new graduates face when they enter practice,” said Optum Chief Nursing Officer Kristy Duffey. “With GW, we will be able to train a next generation of highly skilled advanced practice clinicians to meet the health needs for one of our most vulnerable populations.” 

Optum is part of the UnitedHealth Group, a health care and well-being company with a mission to help people live healthier lives and help make the health system work better for everyone.

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