Professional Development

"How We Grow"

Professional development is an operating principle of the organization. Professional development opportunities in the areas of leadership, communication, clinical competency, academic advancement, specialty certification, and overall professional growth and development are available for all nurses. Extraordinary nurses provide the highest quality of care as professional members of an interdisciplinary care team. Nurses who continue to learn new theories of practice and develop new skills have a positive impact on patient care and outcomes. Cultivating relationships with other disciplines contributes to the comprehensive plan of care.

Guided by the Core Values and the mission of the hospital, St.Vincent nurses aspire to uphold nursing as a profession, not just a job. This belief is upheld in the organization and supported through multiple initiatives that encourage nurses to continually enhance their proficiency of skills and increase their knowledge of health care technologies. The constant changes in health care challenge nurses to meet the expectations of consumers as they navigate the health care system.

As professionals, nurses are responsible for continuing education and attaining specialty certifications. Nurses are obligated to share gained knowledge and contribute back to the profession. Membership in professional organizations demonstrates responsibility and accountability to the profession of nursing.

Other initiatives of support provided at St.Vincent are tuition assistance, scholarship programs, and flexible schedules, which allow nurses to continue their education. The Clinical Advancement Program (CAP) empowers nurses to take the initiative to engage in multiple clinical activities outside their work requirements in order to help them grow personally and professionally.

Evidence supports a positive impact on quality, safety and cost-effective patient care when an organization uses Advance Practice Nurses (APN) as members of its health care team. St.Vincent has implemented the role of APNs to support staff nurses and advance the practice of nursing. Collaborative relationships with physicians and other disciplines unite practices together to provide care in an interdisciplinary approach.

The support of continued learning, professional advancement and the empowerment of nurses provides an environment where extraordinary nurses have the tools to make a vision of the future a reality.

Nursing Clinical Ladder

I. Purpose

The Nursing Clinical Ladder Program is designed to recognize the nurse who has advanced knowledge and skills, demonstrates excellence in the care of patients, and continually pursues opportunities for professional advancement.

Founded on the Nursing at a Higher Level Professional Practice Model (PPM), the leadership of St.Vincent endeavors to provide a challenging and nurturing environment that allows nurses to excel personally and professionally. The Nursing Clinical Ladder Program demonstrates professional commitment to Nursing at a Higher Level today and into the future. .

II. Goals

  • Recognize excellence in nursing practice
  • Enculturate the Nursing at a Higher Level Professional Practice Model
  • Foster recruitment and retention of nurses
  • Foster community outreach
  • Return organizational rewards through quality patient/family care and measurable outcomes
  • Focus program on high value priorities/initiatives including national certification, precepting, teaching, continuing education and development, evidence-based practice, special projects, staff involvement in decision-making, advanced skills, and community involvement.

Building the B.E.S.T.

To further demonstrate a commitment to Nursing at a Higher Level and a commitment to excelling professionally, St.Vincent provides access for all nurses to participate in their leadership development program called Building the B.E.S.T. The program prepares nurses to grow professionally through the development of their skills to mobilize others toward shared aspirations and goals and to create a climate in which challenges are turned into successes. The program consists of a 360 degree feedback tool, a series of workshops, coaching sessions and development of an individual development plan.

St.Vincent Tuition Reimbursement Plan

Assistance is available for tuition expenses incurred relative to education in either an undergraduate or graduate degree. Associates must be in a regular full-time or part-time benefits eligible position prior to the beginning of the semester in order to take advantage of the program and must continue to work in a regular full-time or part-time benefits eligible position throughout the semester. The course must be completed with a “C” or better for undergraduate courses and a "B" or better for graduate courses in order to be eligible for the reimbursement. Associates enrolled and pursuing a degree will be eligible for an annual reimbursement of tuition expenses up to:

$1,650 – Undergraduate (non-clinical)
$2,000 – Undergraduate (clinical)

Continuing Education

In an effort to provide quality educational programming for our associates, St.Vincent Indianapolis Hospital is an approved provider for continuing nursing education (CNE). Each year we provide a variety of programs, ranging from 30 minute journal clubs on topics specific to a nursing unit’s patient population, to multiple-day programs on leadership, spirituality, crisis management or clinical issues. We also provide continuing nursing education credit for certification review courses in critical care, med/surg nursing and orthopaedic nursing.

Each year we have grown the program. In 2010 we provided over 500 programs, offering a total of 1532 CNE contact hours. These were attended by 10,000 individuals, 6600 of which were nurses. Of these programs, 60 are in a web-based format that allows the individual to view the program at their convenience, take a quiz and be awarded the CNE credit. In 2010, over 1300 individuals utilized this on line method to earn continuing education credit, 1000+ of which were nurses. We are matching these numbers in 2011, and hope to continue to do so in the future.


Nursing scholarships provide added support to those nurses seeking advanced education. Provided through the St.Vincent Foundation, nursing scholarships are given based on need and merit, and involve an application process. Scholarship recipients are selected from associate applicants by a committee of which several nursing associates are members. Last year, scholarships were awarded to nursing students pursuing associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Up to $75,000 is awarded annually to nursing associates through the scholarship program. Applications can be found on the Nurse Portal each year in February for scholarship selection in April. Monies awarded are available for the following Fall semester.

Scholarships outside of the Foundation are also available. Each year in August, the Eyler family and The College Network award the Candace Eyler Scholarship, available to St.Vincent nursing associates. This is given in memory of former Orthopaedic nurse Candace Eyler, and pays a full scholarship to a College Network-associated nursing program.