Clinical Ladder FAQ’s

Clinical Ladder FAQ’s

For those of you that weren’t able to Grand Rounds last Friday, or for those of you that were there and might not have caught all the great questions, we’ve summarized them for you below.  Great dialogue, great questions!  Keep them coming. 

1.  As a nurse on the unit, how do I keep track of those things that I do on the unit, above and beyond my regular duties? 

Answer:  Keep a list of job duties, keep a journal – jot down things when they are fresh in your mind. Save everything!

2.  Can letters from co-workers or staff members used to show proof of being a Mentor?

Answer:  Yes

3.  Does my portfolio cover the full course of my career or should I update it annually?

Answer:  It should be done annually

4.  Is there an electronic portfolio available?

Answer:  Yes, our speaker recommends .  She also recommends having a back-up in case the computer crashes.

5.  Can the sample portfolios be brought to CEC or other committees for review?

Answer:  Yes

6.  If you are a current CNII, how long do you have to apply for the new ladder? 

Answer:  Until the end of 2010

7.  What happens if you are a level 2 on one unit and want to transfer to another unit?

Answer:  You would keep your credentials and then reapply once you have been on your new unit for one year.

8.  Can we include achievements from previous years in our portfolio?

Answer:  No, your portfolio should be current and should reflect your work for the prior year.  Include other, older items in your resume.

9.  When sponsors provide an in-service and we attend, does that count towards our professional portfolio?

Answer:  If it is required for your role or unit, it will not count towards your portfolio.  If it is not required for your role or unit, there must be demonstration of how your learning impacted care or practice within the organization. 

10.  Where can I access the Clinical Ladder Application?

Answer: Log on to Client Access, then click on the Intranet. On the left side of the screen, click on Clinical Education, then Clinical Ladder 2010, then Clinical Ladder Application Packet. 


 11.  Is there a time limit between moving from one levels of the ladder to another?

Answer:  Yes, it is one year.

12.  Do we need to meet all requirements before applying for the ladder, including CEUs?

Answer:  Yes

13.  Can we bring the portfolio to the education department for review before presenting to the board?

Answer:  Yes

14.  What do you do about Diploma nurses who are current CNIIs?

Answer:  We will contact them individually.

15.  Is Care Management going to be phased into the ladder?

Answer:  Current staff nurses and CNIIs will be phased in first. Care Management and other areas with nursing staff will be discussed in the next phase of the clinical ladder.

16.  What if you have any disciplinary actions against you?  Can you apply?

Answer:  No.

17.  If you apply for a level 3, but qualify for a lower level, do you need to reapply?

Answer:  No. The Board of Review will let you know which requirements you do not meet for the higher level. They will then discuss appointing you to the level you do meet. It will be the nurse’s decision to take the alternate level or wait until she/he meets the requirements for the higher level. 

18.  Do you know if there is a requirement for Charge Nurse to be a level 2?

Answer:  No, it is not required, but acting as a charge nurse can be included in your portfolio.

19.  Compensation Discussion for current CNIIs:

If you decide to stay in the ladder, your compensation will remain the same. However, you will not be eligible for Ladder Compensation Pay until you have decreased your annual salary potential by 5%. The amount of time it will take to reach this point will be different for each CNII. Human Resources will be tracking this to determine when you would be eligible for LCP.

20.  If I receive a merit raise, does the 5% come from my salary before the raise or will it get re-evaluated after the raise? 

Answer:  Your merit increases are compounded upon your initial 5% increase from when you became a CN II. For example, you were making $30/hour as a staff nurse. You were promoted to a CN II and received a 5% pay increase, so your hourly rate went up to $31.50. Any merit increases are added to your base pay which is already 5% higher than other staff nurses. If you then receive a 2.5% merit raise, your salary increases to $32.29. A staff nurse making $30/hour who gets the equivalent raise of 2.5% will only increase her salary to $30.75, so even though she received the same merit increase, the CN II still makes more per hour.

21.  What happens to floating to other units?  Current CNIIs on W&C are not required to float.

Answer:  Floating is a separate issue from the ladder.

22.  Some current CNIIs are required to help with evaluations. Will Level II nurses be required to do this?

 Answer:  This is not a part of CNII job description.  Units will need to look at different ways to do evaluations.

23.  If I apply to the new ladder and I am a current CNII, when does my compensation catch up?

Answer:  The amount of time it will take to reach this point will be different for each CN II, you can contact Marita Kellers ( in HR to discuss your current situation. 

24.  If a CNII decides not to enter the new ladder, does the CNII lose the 5%?

Answer:  Yes, this is how the current ladder works also.

25.  Currently, CNIIs don’t clock in when they act as charge nurses.  The new ladder level does not say that you are required to do charge. If I am in the new ladder and do charge, can I receive charge nurse pay?

 Answer:  There is not a decision on this yet. Preceptor pay would also be included in this discussion.

If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to post them here.  If you have comments regarding a particular question above, please reference the number of the question in your post. 

Keep those questions coming, if you are thinking it, someone else is probably thinking it too!


  1. Posted by carol b, at Reply

    Is the renewal date based on the calendar year or by the date the nurse actually receives confirmation of her level?
    Also, I am wondering about the logistics of getting everyone through the process. If a lot of people apply toward the end of the year how does the panel intend to get everyone through the process?

    • Posted by Jenn, at Reply

      Hi Carol-
      -the renewal date is based upon when the nurse is approved for the ladder. So if she/he has a board review in May and is aproved, the following May she/he will need to resubmit a portfolio.
      -the board will need to evaluate the number of applicants to ensure we meet frequently enough to get everyone through. We plan to meet quarterly-Feb, May, Aug, & Nov. Hopefully everyone doesn’t wait until the last minute!

  2. Posted by anonymous, at Reply

    I am a staff nurse – what happens if I do not apply for the clinical ladder? Does it affect my current pay rate?

    • Posted by Jenn King, at Reply

      nope-if you are a staff nurse and decide not to participate in the ladder, your pay rate will stay the same.

    • Posted by Amy T., at Reply

      I’m a staff nurse too and I’m going to interject here that the clinical ladder aka (soon to be determined) is for us, you, me, all nurses. It’s a great opportunity to make a difference. Yeah, it’s a cliche but it’s a fact. Each of us has the power to make a difference, in our careers, in our patient’s lives, in our every day existence. Not everyone is interested in advancement but those of us that are nurses became nurses for a reason, I’m sure it was not solely for monetary gain. This is an opportunity to take a step, to do something proactive. The advantages of participating in the clinical ladder far outweigh the decision not to. Give it a shot, you’ve nothing to lose and you might just have some fun.

  3. Posted by Jenn King, at Reply

    @Christine-good question! Staff will submit the application to Clin Ed, and we will contact them to set up a board review (the board meets in May, Aug, Nov). They will bring their portfolio and have about 10″ to present the portfolio to the group, and the group will have the opportunity to ask questions too. It will be a short review-only about 15″ total. Applicants can present the portfolio electronically or on paper.

  4. Posted by Jenn King, at Reply

    @Amy-you can submit your names for the ladder to Clin Ed too!

  5. Posted by Jenn King, at Reply

    @Amy-you should have access to the application site. Are you trying to get on from home or on campus? That shouldn’t matter, though. If you continue to have trouble, I’d contact IS. Completed applications are submitted to Clinical Education. Once we have your application, we’ll contact you to set up a review. The Board’s 1st meeting is May 12.

  6. Posted by Amy T., at Reply

    At Grand Rounds there was mention about naming the clinical ladder something more unique, who do we submit suggestions?

  7. Posted by Christine Frost, at Reply

    This is a great way to have a central place to ask/answer questions about the clinical ladder. Can you also explain what the staff should prepare and expect for their board review?

  8. Posted by Amy T., at Reply

    Again, I think this is a phenomenal opportunity.
    A few questions:
    I went to the site to access the application (had to have a look) but got “access denied” even after putting in the correct log in info. Should I call IS? Is it me? or is there a glitch in the matrix?

    This may be somewhere in the app, but to whom is the application submitted? How does one go about scheduling a review?

    and how does one initiate a blog? I have thoughts, things I want to say 🙂

    • Posted by monicam, at Reply

      Amy, I would encourage any staff nurse who is interested in blogging to email me at Thanks for your insightful comments.

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