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PDFS available for the following: 

Important Dates for Current Clinical Ladder Period:

Submissions - Standing dates for clinical ladder submissions yearly:

November 2018
May 2019

Please Review the Program for Changes Made Annually 

Please refer to the Clinical Ladder and Peer Review Program Manual for required information for Intent Submission
Program Development
  • The Clinical Ladder is designed to recognize the professional nursing staff for advanced performance and leadership at the bedside.Based on Patricia Benner's Research (Benner, P. (1984). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesle
  • 4 levels of expertise
Objectives of Program
  • Promote excellence in practice to assure quality patient and family care.
  • Develop and recognize excellence in leadership.
  • Keep expert nurse at the bedside.
  • Encourage personal and professional development.
  • Facilitate career advancement.
  • Support retention and recruitment
  • Novice/Advanced Beginner
  • Competent/Proficient
  • Expert Nurse
Levels distinguish the nurse's ability to independently implement the nursing process and individualize the plan of care based on patient population needs.
Process for Advancement
     Clinical Nurse I
  • Entry level
  • Process done at unit level
     Clinical Nurse II
  • Nurse Manager reviews performance of nurse
  • All registered nurses must be at CNII level after a year.
  • Process done at unit level.
     Clinical Nurse III
  • Potential applicant discusses desire to move forward with manager
  • A current performance evaluation that reflects the applicants consistently meets or exceeds performance standards as established by the applicants’ management team.
  • Applicant sends letter of intent to promote or maintain via e-mail to the Nursing Clinical Ladder and Peer Review Council by published due date. Copy e-mail to nurse manager. (Intent must be sent from applicant.)
  • Nursing Clinical Ladder and Peer Review Council will then acknowledge your intent by forwarding a Word Document of Program Guide. This allows you to type directly on the document so you may complete your portfolio.
  • Completed portfolio is turned in to the Nursing Clinical Ladder and Peer Review Council by published application due date. (Instructions for portfolio follow in this packet.)
  • Three different members of the Nursing Clinical Ladder and Peer Review Council will review the applicant’s completed portfolio.
  • Notification of approval or denial will be sent via email to both the applicant & nurse manager. Should your portfolio be denied, you may be given an opportunity for appeal based on reason for denial. (Refer to Appeals Process – Appendix D)
  • The Nursing Clinical Ladder and Peer Review Council will send a list of the candidates to Human Resources.
  • Maintenance of CNIII/IV is accomplished by submission of an intent and portfolio on a yearly basis.         
     Clinical Nurse IV
  • See process for CN III.
  • One year as a CN III and five years clinical practice
  • National Certification: This national certification is required and is not accepted as a leadership activity. (A second or third national certification may be utilized as a leadership activity when advancing to CNIV.)
  • Requires participation in reading at least 4 portfolios during each of the portfolio review periods in May & November. If a CNIV fails to read the required portfolios, this will result in immediate demotion to CNIII level. Exceptions will only be made for those CNIVs on FMLA.
     Submission Process:
  • Applicant indicates interest to nurse manager and applicants email intent to New_Clinical_Ladder_Council@augusta.edu
  • Nursing Clinical Ladder Portfolio Word document will be emailed to applicants after intent has been received.
  • Your manager must support you without reservation
  • Clinical Ladder strongly encourages that you request and utilize a mentor.
  • Current evaluation fully meets or exceeds standards
  • Your portfolio must be complete and professional
  • You must maintain your CL promotion each year
  • Questions not answered in the program document can be directed to the Clinical Ladder Review board via email to  New_Clinical_Ladder_Council@ augusta.edu