04.04 Climbing the Clinical Ladder

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  1. What is the clinical ladder?
    1. A system or tool that employers use to organize career progression
    2. Levels will vary per employer
    3. Usually includes a reward system
    4. Climbing up levels indicates gaining experience and responsibility
    5. Moving up usually allows for a pay increase.
  2. Tips for climbing the ladder.
    1. Follow established orientation guidelines
    2. Focus on being a good nurse
    3. Look for opportunities to get involved
    4. Go to available training opportunities
    5. Obtain national certification
    6. Consider furthering education
  3. Applying to move up!
    1. Process will vary per hopsital
    2. Keep a portfolio to keep track of
      1. CE’s
      2. Volunteering
      3. Additional duties- charge nurse, precepting
      4. Training
      5. Thank you’s/Notes from patients


Today we’re going to be talking about climbing the clinical ladder.

So, first what is the clinical ladder.  Well, it’s a tool or system that employers use to measure and organize career progression within the organization.  The process for doing this will vary from hospital to hospital, but essentially when you move up the ladder it means that you’ve gained more experience, furthered your education, and taken on more responsibility.  Once these things have happened and you move up the ladder there will typically be an increase in pay!

Let’s quickly cover some tips for moving up the ladder.  First, you want to focus on completing your orientation. This will always be the first step in the process so don’t be in a hurry to start other things- focus on getting all the orientation things done!  Next, and most important, is to really just focus on being a good nurse! Honestly, this is so important and you will get recognized for it.  

These other tips are things that will likely sort of happen organically as opportunities come up but you want to get involved, take part in training opportunities, start working toward your national certification in your speciality, and have a plan for furthering your education. 

As you are doing these things, there will come a time when you are ready to apply to move up the ladder.  The process for this will vary but most all employers will be looking for you to provide documentation of your continuing education, volunteering, any additional duties you’ve done, your training and any thank you notes from patients you may have gotten.  The best thing to do is keep a portfolio where you can store and organize these items.

Okay so let’s recap the key points!  The clinical ladder is a tool employers use to organize career progression.  The best tips for making sure you can climb the ladder are be a great nurse, get involved and always look for ways to advance your learning. 

To apply- follow your employers process and keep a portfolio so you can keep track of your training and all the documents you will need to submit. 

We love you guys! Go out and be your best self today! And as always, Happy Nursing!