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The Development of a Career Ladder for Acute Care Case Managers

Knowles, Barbara W. RN, BSN, CRRN, OCN

doi: 10.1097/

Purpose and Objective This article proposes grass roots initiatives for facilitating a career ladder for Methodist La Bonheur Healthcare systems. It looks at the roles and functions case managers perform that are above and beyond those of staff nurses. Currently, the facility has a career advancement program for staff nurses but not for case managers.

Primary Practice: Acute Care Findings Career ladders are available to staff nurses in multiple settings; however, case managers are often not included in the career ladder process despite their invaluable service to the facility.

Implications for Case Management Practice Career ladders are utilized by hospitals around the nation to give incentive to nurses. Case managers usually become salaried employees and are separated from staff nurses in hospital settings despite their diverse and unique scope of practice. Case managers' need for professional growth can be enhanced through career ladders. Career ladders lay the groundwork and offer growth both professionally and personally. With the development of a career ladder, a facility offers a way for case managers to develop a sense of achievement, recognition, leadership, and career development.

Barbara W. Knowles, RN, BSN, CRRN, OCN, a senior graduate student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Director of Education, Employee Health, Infection Control and Safety Officer for HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in North Alabama.

Address correspondence to Barbara W. Knowles, RN, BSN, CRRN, OCN, 1304 Brock Chapel Rd, Union Grove, AL 35175 (

This project could not have been completed without the wonderful, endless mentorship of Dr. Elaine Cohen. Barbara is thankful for the opportunity to have been able to precept under Dr. Cohen.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.