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Certification and Clinical Ladder as the Impetus for Professional Development

Watts, Misty D. MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3181c8e333

With today's healthcare challenges of nursing shortages and financial instability, it is imperative that healthcare organizations retain clinically competent nurses at the bedside. Professional development and recognition are key motivators to increase nursing job satisfaction, thus reducing shortages and turnover. Implementation of specialty certification and clinical advancement programs is of benefit to the public, employers, and nurses alike. Clinical ladder and Magnet recognition are often the impetus for specialty nursing certification in healthcare institutions. Clinical ladder history, purpose, models, perceptions, and satisfiers are discussed. Certification statistics, types, impetus, benefits, incentives, and barriers are highlighted, as well as a facility's innovative strategy to increase specialty certification. Certification and clinical ladder programs demonstrate commitment of healthcare organizations and nursing staff to provide high-quality care and professional nursing development, an investment that hospitals cannot afford to overlook.

Baptist Health System, San Antonio, Texas.

Corresponding Author: Misty D. Watts, MSN, RN, Baptist Health System, 7930 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229, (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.