In the healthcare job market, the experience gained through participation in a postgraduate fellowship can provide a competitive advantage to an early careerist. Through these experiences, fellows can put theory into practice to develop practical professional knowledge in a low-risk environment while fostering relationships that can help guide their careers for years to come.
Gayle L. Capozzalo, FACHE, director of research, The Equity Collaborative, Shelton, Conn., has served as the preceptor for Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health System’s postgraduate fellowship program. She says the connections built during a fellowship are one of its most valuable components.
“A fellowship provides someone the ability to learn management styles and how the organization functions on a day-to-day basis,” said Capozzalo.
Carolyn J. Miller, FACHE, who completed a one-year fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and now works as the assistant vice president of Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., echoes Capozzalo’s sentiments and says her exposure to all levels of senior executives, both managerial and clinical, was the greatest benefit of her fellowship.
“The executives at Rush were engaged in the fellowship program and willing to share information and advice openly, which made it an extremely positive experience,” said Miller. “To learn from those who have such great knowledge was an irreplaceable opportunity.”
A fellowship typically offers participants opportunities and experiences that their peers hired right out of college would not likely get. Without participating in a fellowship, exposure to senior leadership and management techniques can be difficult to obtain. For example, Miller’s fellowship at Rush provided her with the opportunity to work on one major project for 12 months in addition to several small projects throughout the year.
“I wanted to use my fellowship to develop my interests, competencies and skillsets while working at an academic medical center, which gave me exposure to many areas such as physician practice management, strategic planning and government affairs,” she shared.
In addition to providing value to the fellows themselves, these programs hold significant value for the organizations that provide them. Fernando O. Rivera, FACHE, CEO/director, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, New Orleans, said the VA’s fellowship program brings the organization new talent who contribute fresh ideas and energize the staff.
“If we value developing future leaders, then they will come to us for that nourishment and development, and they will choose to stay and be part of the organization,” said Rivera. “For the VA, offering a postgraduate fellowship program is an investment. You have to believe that if you invest in these individuals, they will make your organization richer in many ways.”
According to David E. Entwistle, a former CEO for University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics and current president/CEO of Stanford (Calif.) Health Care, these fellowships are much more than just a year-long partnership.
“Our commitment to them doesn’t end when their fellowship ends,” said Entwistle. “We use our program to screen for management talent for the organization. We have hired or placed many fellow candidates that have come through our organization.”
If you’re currently pursing fellowship opportunities or are seeking fellows for your organization, head to our Postgraduate Fellowships for openings, testimonials and resources to help you achieve your fellowship goals.