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Clinical Professional Development

Nursing Career Ladder

Spring Harbor recognizes and rewards increasing levels of clinical expertise, commitment to patient care, and quality treatment outcomes. Our Nursing Career Ladder also seeks to:

  • promote professional development
  • enhance personal growth and job satisfaction
  • allow formal career advancement
  • foster an environment that promotes safe patient- and family centered care.

Three levels of clinical practice are recognized for the nurse professional:

Psychiatric Nurse I
An entry-level position for newly registered nurses or new hires, the Psychiatric Nurse I demonstrates emerging knowledge of patient-centered, strength-based approaches to caring for psychiatric patients. Nurses may continue their practice at this level or advance to higher levels. Click here for sample job description.

Psychiatric Nurse II
The Psychiatric Nurse II is proficient and typically has two or more years of psychiatric nursing experience. Competencies for this nursing level are defined in the sample job description. RNs at the Psychiatric Nurse II level will demonstrate evidence in five of the six core competencies.

Psychiatric Nurse III
This is the expert nurse who engages in clinically sound, evidenced-based practice. The Psychiatric Nurse III is recognized as a resource and preceptor to staff, is competent in all eight core competencies, and validates evidence in seven of the eight core competencies. Click here for sample job description.

Typical progression through the nursing ladders is described below.

  1. Upon hire and during the first 12 months of employment, RNs will practice according to the duties and responsibilities of a Psychiatric Nurse I.
  2. At 90 days, individual performance is evaluated to assure completion of initial employment requirements and satisfactory performance of duties and responsibilities.
  3. After one year, each RN’s performance is evaluated against the position description for which each was hired.
  4. RN’s with at least two years of experience in psychiatric nursing and one year of employment at Spring Harbor can choose to continue their practice at the Psychiatric Nurse I level or begin the application process for Psychiatric Nurse II. Advancement to Psychiatric Nurse II requires nurse management endorsement and a completed portfolio (see “Process for Advancement”).
  5. The advancement process to the Psychiatric Nurse III requires endorsement from the RN’s Program Manager and approval of the applicant’s portfolio by the Nursing Application Review Committee.

RNs seeking advancement to the next career level will prepare and submit the following to the Nursing Application Review Committee:

  • Letter of Intent
  • Submission of portfolio (proof of educational requirements, etc)
  • Submission of letters of recommendation
  • Endorsement of Program Manager/Director

Documentation required yearly:

  • Valid licensure in the State of Maine
  • Satisfactory job performance evaluation
  • Evidence of continued performance at current career level at time of evaluation
  • RNs may elect to redefine responsibilities and resume previous level of practice

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