Clinical Laddering


Authored By:

Geir Arnhoff, CEO of Dossier

Geir Arnhoff


Reduce Turnover & Elevate Nursing Professional Development

Nurses are returning to the workforce after many left during the COVID-19 pandemic for various reasons. There’s even a new term for those who left their roles to become travel nurses and now want their old jobs back – boomerang nurses

While the nursing shortage remains a leading concern, this return to the workforce has many hospitals seeking new ways to enhance staff retention, improve recruitment efforts, and stand out in a competitive market. One strategy that is gaining momentum to help ensure a high-performing team is the implementation of clinical laddering programs. Nursing career development isn’t new, but there are new ways to implement programs that support career advancement pathways in healthcare and allow for better tracking and reporting of necessary information.


What is a Clinical Laddering Program?

A clinical laddering program is a strategic approach to career development and progression within the nursing profession. It involves providing nurses with a clear and structured path for career advancement by recognizing their skills, experience, and education. This approach allows nurses to climb the clinical ladder within a healthcare system, taking on more responsibilities, achieving higher pay, and ultimately contributing to the organization’s success.


Why Clinical Laddering Matters

Clinical ladder programs are crucial for both nurses and hospital executives, and it offers a multitude of benefits:

Reduced Turnover Rates: Hospitals across the U.S. have struggled with high turnover rates, especially among nursing staff. Career advancement pathways provide a clear roadmap for nurses to advance, making them less likely to seek employment elsewhere. This reduces turnover rates, saving hospitals recruitment and onboarding costs.

Differentiation in a Competitive Market: In today’s competitive healthcare industry, hospitals need to stand out. Offering clinical laddering opportunities can set an organization apart from the competition, making it an attractive destination for nurses seeking career growth.

Improved Morale: Nurses who feel supported, recognized, and offered opportunities for career advancement are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Improved morale is contagious and can lead to a more positive work environment.

Enhanced Job Satisfaction: Clinical development programs give nurses a sense of purpose and direction in their profession. Knowing that their employer invests in their growth and development fosters a sense of job satisfaction and loyalty.

Greater Loyalty: Nurses who receive opportunities for career advancement and skill development are more likely to stay with their employer. Loyalty reduces turnover, leading to a more stable and experienced nursing staff.

Dossier’s Role in Clinical Laddering

Dossier’s digital competency management platform plays a pivotal role in supporting career development for nurses. Here’s how:

Continuing Education (CE) Tracking: Nurses must track their continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses and certifications. Dossier’s platform simplifies CE tracking, making it easy for nurses to manage and document their educational activities.

Single Source of Truth: Rather than scattering educational information across different hospital HR systems, Dossier provides a centralized platform that stores all educational records. This ensures accuracy and ease of access when needed.

Talent Management: Dossier’s platform helps hospital executives identify and nurture talent within their nursing workforce. By recognizing and promoting skilled nurses, hospitals can create a culture of excellence.

Performance Management: The platform allows for the nurse performance assessment and provides a basis for constructive feedback and improvement.

Tracking Committee Engagement and Speaking Engagements: Nurses can document their involvement in committees and speaking engagements, showcasing their commitment to improving patient care and their professional development.

By implementing nursing development pathways and leveraging digital competency management platforms like Dossier, hospitals can achieve these goals while ensuring nurses have the tools they need to advance their careers.

Nurses returning to work need to understand the workplace is a bit different since they left. Monster put together a list of tips for nurses reentering the workforce – pointing out the need to get up to speed on new equipment, systems, and even education. 



Clinical laddering programs are a powerful strategy for healthcare systems looking to enhance nurse retention and recruitment. By providing nurses with clear paths for career progression and leveraging platforms like Dossier, hospitals can create a win-win situation. 

Nurses can advance their careers, while hospitals reduce turnover rates, improve their reputation, and achieve a competitive edge in the healthcare market. Nursing career development strategies and Dossier’s platform are the keys to a brighter future for both nurses and healthcare organizations.

To witness clinical laddering within Dossier’s platform, book a short demo.

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