Understanding Nurse Fellowship Programs

fellowship words on a gameboard
Written by
Jacky Habib
June 1, 2023

Nursing fellowships offer nurses immersive learning experiences which combine clinical practice with academic study, mentorship, and professional development. Fellowships enable fellows to learn and refine clinical skills while working alongside healthcare experts. 

In this blog post, we will explore what nurse fellowships are, the requirements to participate in a nursing fellowship, and the benefits of a nursing fellowship. We will also share information and links to the top nursing fellowship programs for nurses in the US to support you as you take this next step in advancing your professional development as a nurse. 

What Is a Nurse Fellowship? 

smiling nurse

Nurse fellowships are orientation programs designed to help nurses advance their skills to provide a higher level of care in their existing specialty or transition into a new nursing specialty. 

Nurse fellowship programs generally run for one year and include a mix of classroom seminars, lectures, and clinical experience under specialist supervision. Most fellowship programs are paid, and some even provide insurance and other benefits.

Common specialties for nurse fellowship programs include intensive care unit (ICU), emergency room (ER), oncology, psychiatric, and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nursing.

Fellowship programs are generally run and facilitated by hospitals, but you can also find nursing fellowship programs that are operated by critical care and rehabilitation centers, amongst others.

Requirements for a Nurse Fellowship

Each nursing fellowship program will have different requirements for nurses to qualify. The following are a few common requirements that are standard amongst a range of nursing fellowships: 

  • Degree from an accredited school of nursing (BSN preferred)
  • Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 on 4.0 scale
  • A valid nursing license, as fellowships are intended for registered nurses
  • CV/Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Letters of recommendation from professional references
  • Some programs require applicants to submit a background check to confirm they are not on the National Sex Offender Registry or the Office of Inspector General exclusion list
  • Some programs also require applicants to submit an essay on a given topic

The Benefits of Nurse Fellowships

Fellowships help nurses improve on critical nursing competencies (assessment, diagnosis, outcomes/planning, implementation, and evaluation) and clinical judgment, which help nurses give patients better care. By investing in your professional development, you also become an asset to your employer and can position yourself well for promotions or other career opportunities. 

Many fellowship programs for nurses include mentoring and giving nurses access to valuable networks that provide further knowledge and guidance in the field. Fellowships also allow nurses to transition into different nursing specialties by providing education and hands-on clinical experience. 

In short, the benefits of a nursing fellowship program include the following:

  • Specialized expertise, enabling nurses to delve deep into a specific area of healthcare and gain specialized knowledge 
  • Enhanced clinical skills through hands-on clinical experience
  • Mentorship and guidance by providing nurses with an opportunity to work closely with experts in the field who can provide personalized guidance and support
  • Developing research and innovation skills by enabling nurses to contribute to healthcare advancement
  • Expansive networking opportunities by connecting nurses with professionals and leaders who can support them throughout their careers
  • Developing leadership skills, as many fellowships include leadership components which can then be transferred to nurses’ work life following the fellowship and can give nurses an added edge when applying for management positions

Nurse Fellowship Programs

nurse on computer

Here are some popular nurse fellowship programs:

When looking for nurse fellowships, check the job listings on nursing job boards and healthcare companies such as Johnson & Johnson.

Final Thoughts | Nurse Fellowships

Nursing fellowships can open doors for nurses who are interested in advancing their careers. These opportunities can stretch a nurse's personal and professional development, expand their network, strengthen their clinical skills, give them insights into the latest research and innovation trends, and present an opportunity for nurses to transition into a new specialty. 

If you’re looking to positively impact your community beyond your current role in nursing, consider applying for a nursing fellowship, as it will allow you to strengthen your skillset to provide even better patient care. If you’re shortlisted for a nursing fellowship, be sure to check out Nursa’s top interview tips for nurses.

Jacky Habib
Blog published on:
June 1, 2023

Meet Jacky, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who specializes in writing about nursing specialties, FAQs, and career advice.

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