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How can I help my staff nurses achieve a greater level of clinical expertise?


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Clinical ladder programs are a great way to help engage staff nurses to be more actively involved in unit-based and organizational initiatives. As patient care is increasing in complexity with higher acuity levels, shorter length of stays, and complex discharge planning, we need to have clinical experts at the bedside. A clinical ladder program helps to reward staff nurses for participating in projects that help to increase their clinical knowledge and skills. Some clinical activities that can be utilized in clinical ladder programs to help advance nursing practice include the following:

  • Participating on unit-based and hospital-wide committees
  • Providing education in-services or assisting as a resource for other team members
  • Participating in a preceptorship program
  • Achieving national certification in their specialty
  • Actively participating in project improvement initiatives
  • Participating in a research study within the organization
  • Documenting a complex patient care plan utilizing evidence-based practice

Through the clinical ladder program, staff nurses can achieve a greater level of clinical expertise and leadership skills as they take on challenging projects and participate in evidence-based practice initiatives. It is a great resource to tap into for discovering talent and developing talent.

-Tammy L. Berbarie, BA, RN, RN-BC