The AdventHealth Nursing Professional Excellence Program (PEP), a new systemwide clinical ladder, is providing more AdventHealth direct care nurses with the opportunity to achieve their career goals, while rewarding them for their achievements and expertise. Beginning with the Central Florida Division, the program is being launched by region throughout 2022 and 2023.
“The Nursing Professional Excellence Program is important because it engages nurses and recognizes them for their knowledge, skill, and continued professional development as they progress through the levels,” Trish Celano, senior vice president, associate chief clinical officer, and chief nurse executive for AdventHealth, said. “The clinical ladder is structured to provide nurses with a blueprint of activities in the categories of education, evidence-based practice and research, clinical achievement, leadership, professional growth, and exemplary self-care, which contribute to the advancement of their professional nursing practice, education, and professional growth.”
The challenges that accompany a career in nursing can be daunting, but clinical ladder participants highlight that their involvement in the Nursing PEP provides new incentives and opportunities to connect with their passion. Michael Isner, a clinical educator covering two units at AdventHealth Orlando, said, “As an educator, I love being in a position to grow nurses and get them excited about nursing because, although it can be hard and scary, it's also a really, really great position to be in, and there’s still so much excitement to be found in the field.”
In his current role, Isner helps new people enroll and participate in the program. Nurses start as a CN1 (Clinical Nurse 1), and from there can apply to advance through the other levels to the top, or CN5, level.
“This program is helping me to develop professionally, but also to improve my well-being,” Paul Kenneth Miclat, an AdventHealth Daytona Beach nurse, said. For those days that can be hard and scary, resiliency is the key, which is why the Nursing PEP also incorporates self-care activities into each level. “The incorporation of self-care activities has impacted my personal life by engaging me in whole-person health.”
Summer Tavasci, a cardiovascular ICU nurse and the first person to complete the CN5 level of the Nursing PEP, said it was important for her to participate in the program because it allowed her to be acknowledged for her accomplishments. Like many other nurses, continuing education has been a key component of her career. In 2019, she decided to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in nursing administration, stemming from her ongoing desire to be a more educated and involved care provider for her patients.
“Many of us nurses have either gone back to school or are currently enrolled in programs to further our education and get advanced degrees,” she said. “So, the point-based activities and projects in each category were easily attainable, as I was already doing many of those things in school or in the workplace.”
Alexandra Clapsaddle, a pediatric outpatient procedures and sedation (POPS) nurse, has always loved medicine. Her passion for making a direct impact in other people’s lives began in high school when she learned that her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. While visiting her in the hospital, Clapsaddle was inspired by the caregivers and nurses who treated the patients. Once she chose nursing as her career path, other experiences narrowed her focus to pediatrics — and now, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Clapsaddle and others have found that participating in the program is financially rewarding, and provides opportunities that promote education and hone leadership, community engagement, and even self-care skills.
With an abundance of professional and personal growth opportunities like these, Clapsaddle said, she is hopeful that her participation in the Nursing PEP will help her continue to advance her nursing career.
“I love helping people in any way that I can and making a difference in their lives, even if it is just for a moment of care,” she said.