Numerous Opportunities for Professional Nursing Development
The medical field constantly evolves, and SBL provides resources so its nurses may advance their training as well. As part of Sarah Bush Lincoln’s initiative to become a Magnet Recognized Program nursing staff must reach development standards outlined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
SBL recognizes that well-trained nurses produce better patient outcomes. In order to meet benchmark standards, SBL provides the following opportunities for nurses.
Magnet designated hospitals must have 80 percent of their nursing staff hold a BSN. Currently, 57 percent of SBL nurses hold a BSN, which is the goal for the fiscal year. SBL’s goal will increase to 60 percent for fiscal year 2023. Continued progress toward the 80 percent Magnet goal each year must be shown in the application. Simply put, BSN nurses have more in-depth nursing education, which translates into statistically-proven, improved patient outcomes.
Each calendar year SBL reimburses tuition up to $4,000 for full-time staff. Part-time staff members can receive up to $2,000 reimbursement. A grade of “C” or better for undergraduate work and “B” or better for graduate work must be attained to qualify for tuition reimbursement. Staff members receiving tuition reimbursement will not have to repay SBL if they stay for a year beyond their final tuition payment.
SBL does not currently have a requirement in place for RNs to earn BSNs within a certain number of years. Leaders and Unit Councils set these goals for their units or departments and encourage newly hired staff to make a plan for certification and BSN as a part of their professional development plan.
“My goal during this process is to ensure that nurses are aware of the many ways that they are supported by SBL to develop professionally. This includes tuition reimbursement, Foundation and Guild Scholarships, certification vouchers, Neal Nursing funds, Lippincott Learning, and the SBL Library, as well as our many Leadership activities,” Tracey McCord, professional development coordinator, explained.
Nursing certifications confirm a nurse’s ability to provide top-quality care in their specialty. Once a nurse has reached a set number of clinical hours, they may work toward certification. Some common specialties include medical-surgical, gerontology, sexual assault, advanced cardiovascular life support, wound care, and pediatrics. Nurses receive pay during their testing time and vouchers to pay the cost of the test. Magnet-designated hospitals must have 52 percent of their nursing staff be certified. Nearly 39 percent of SBL nurses currently hold certifications. SBL’s current goal is to reach 43 percent by the end the fiscal year.
Nurses who earn their advanced degree or nursing certification receive an updated badge, achievement pin, and their photo taken for internal publications. SBL is proud of its dedicated and innovative nurses. SBL honors its certified nurses annually with a special celebration in March for National Certified Nurses Day.
SBL uses a clinical ladder to track nurses’ leadership and additional duties. Nurses can add points to their clinical ladder by performing professional development tasks such as mentoring newer nurses. Preceptors are not paid extra to train other staff, but their involvement adds points to their clinical ladder. Once a certain number of points have been accrued, they then earn increased pay. Nurses can apply for clinical ladder a year after their hire date.
SBL values the improved patient outcomes as a result of increased training. Reach out to your supervisor with questions about tuition and testing reimbursement.
Study guides, clinical education books, and research used for earning certifications or higher degrees can be found in the SBL Library. Nina Pals and Anieta Trame, librarians, can order specific materials as requested. Additional nursing resources can be found on the nursing intranet page.