The Code of Good Practice was first adopted in 2015 by NCAF members, who are leading graduate health management programs and administrative fellowship programs. NCAF members work collaboratively to advance the role, availability, and quality of fellowships and the fellowships process. The Code was established to support better coordination for all stakeholders involved.
Post-graduate administrative fellowships in Healthcare Management (hereafter referred to as “fellowships”) are a critical stepping stone for many early careerists who will ultimately aspire to senior leadership roles. They contrast with other post-graduate positions in at least two important ways:
There are also some graduate health management programs that require a residency that spans between 9 to12 months for graduation. Those students also may compete for and participate in the Fellowships described here, however, come Fellowships require completion of a degree to apply.
The American College of Healthcare Executives’ Policy on Appropriate Preparation for Healthcare Executive Management Positions for All New Entrants to the Field (November 2014) notes, “It is preferred that graduate students complete a postgraduate fellowship or residency.” The Policy goes on to say:
Healthcare executives and employers contribute to the success and development of future leaders by providing postgraduate fellowship experiences. Fellowships help transition a young professional from the world of academic learning to real-world experiences. Fellows can make a meaningful contribution to the organization when the fellow is assigned real projects that cross organizational lines. Employers are encouraged to offer these opportunities to assist the entry of students to the field of healthcare management. Employers must also be aware of the rigor of accredited programs, such as those accredited by CAHME, and the advantages of hiring accredited programs' graduates Healthcare executives share responsibility to elevate both students and stakeholders on the best pathway for success.
Although many fellows report having positive experiences with their fellowship experience, historically, the absence of uniform approaches to these Fellowships has resulted in practices that can undermine fairness, including burdensome application, interview, and acceptance practices, which can limit the ability of students to assess the program’s quality and choose a fellowship program that is a best fit for their career goals.
Graduate programs are supportive of Fellowships as an effective entrée into the field of practice; however, there are increasing inefficiencies in the system that create substantial work on the part of faculty and administrative members who are tasked to write countless letters of recommendations on a less than optimal timeline in the student’s education.
Similarly, while fellowship program directors are committed to the success of the Fellowships is pipeline development opportunity the current system creates an equally challenging application and recruitment environment. These hospital/health system Fellowships are faced with increasingly competitive forces to accelerate their recruitment process, in turn limiting their ability to adequately assess and consider the applicant pool and recruit candidates that are a best fit for their particular program.
To address some of the aforementioned challenges the following guidelines were developed by the National Council on Administrative Fellowships (NCAF). NCAF is a voluntary membership organization of leading graduate health management programs and administrative fellowship siteswho work collaboratively to advance the role, availability, and quality of Fellowships and the fellowships process.
NCAF believes that (1) the development of early careerist healthcare leaders and managers can be greatly enhanced by the completion of a high-quality post-graduate fellowship, (2) organizations sponsoring Fellowships derive a large benefit from the contributions of high-potential, early careerists to operating and transforming healthcare systems, and (3) graduate programs, employers, and students will benefit from better coordination across the field in the development and operation of fellowship sites.
The following guidelines were established to support better coordination for all stakeholders involved:
Students who apply for Fellowships should exemplify a professional approach to the application, interview, and offer process by:
During the fellowship engagement, fellowship site administrators should adopt good development practices by:
As a follow up to the fellowship experience, fellowship program administrators should conduct post-fellowship evaluations that provide the organization with accurate and timely feedback of their program’s strengths and weaknesses for continuous improvement purposes.
Fellowship site administrators should strive to build the reputation and value of all administrative fellowships for the healthcare management profession by:
NCAF should adopt good member support services by:
The combination of these activities will help ensure that students can attain and are adequately prepared for positions that lead to future leadership roles in the field.