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Professional Development

Nursing Clinical Ladder

Nurses participate in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education, leadership, and knowledge development. The Clinical Ladder is based on Patricia Benner's nursing professional development model Novice to Expert.

The Clinical Ladder provides an environment that results in professional growth and recognizes clinical practice, a format through which the registered nurse (RN) assesses his/her practice in meeting the responsibilities and performance expectations of professional growth at Frederick Memorial Hospital. The goals of this program are to recognize advancement of the nurse practicing at the bedside, foster professional growth, and to provide role models/mentors for new practitioners.

Registered Nurses in direct clinical patient care positions (bedside or acting in a charge role) are required to participate in the Clinical Ladder as a reflection of their job requirements. Advancement in the ladder to III or IV is optional.

Nurse Residency Program

FMH offers a 12-month nurse residency program to provide clinical and educational support to Registered Nurses entering the field of nursing as new graduates.  The program fosters the development of the FMH nurse and supports quality patient care and outcomes.  The main goals are to ease the transition from student nurse to RN, increase nurse competence and confidence, ensure quality patient care, and retain RNs.

Residents may be hired into bedside RN positions at FMH at any time during the year depending on unit needs, vacancies, and the skill mix of RN experience on the unit.  During the interview process, the residency program will be discussed with new grads who apply to vacant RN positions.  Primary resident orientations are offered bimonthly with hire dates recommended in the months of February, April, June, August, October and December.  The initial clinical orientation for the residency (1:1 with preceptor) ranges from 8 to 12 weeks depending on the specialty, with ongoing education and support provided for 12 months via resident forums.

The residency program is administered by Clinical Nurse Specialists who ensure successful clinical integration and practice at the bedside; and Education Specialists who provide a strong didactic component and monthly residency classes to provide education and support in the very important first year. 

Program Highlights:

  • A week of “resident classes” focusing on education specific to new RN’s
  • Partnership with an experienced RN preceptor who guides the progression in patient assignment and completion of the competency-based orientation
  • Biweekly meetings with the preceptor, CNS and Manager to adapt the program to meet individual needs
  • Share days with other disciplines or programs
  • Monthly four hour educational sessions with the Education Specialists to include:
    • Case study presentations by the residents
    • An educational in-service
    • Resident forum/open discussion for support
    • Completion celebration

Requirements for Nurse Residents:

  • Accept a commitment to full time for 24 months on the unit of hire.
  • Mirror/follow a primary preceptor’s schedule.
  • Attend all components of the program to include classes.
  • Return to classes and support groups/forums throughout the 12-month residency program.

"Orientation activities shape a new employee’s first and lasting impressions of an organization. A well-designed orientation program can reduce turnover, shorten the period of adjustment, and lay the groundwork for a long, successful career. The goal of orientation is to develop a competent, confident nurse" (Allen, 2011).

RN to BSN Program

Frederick Memorial Hospital has partnered with Hood College to advance Associate Degree Nurses (ADN) to Bachelor Degree Nurses (BSN). Hood will offer a regional completion program for nurses wishing to increase their professional aptitude. Hood is conveniently located in the heart of Frederick, where many FMH employees reside.

The BSN is now becoming the national standard for entry level nurses. It is also a requirement for nurses who wish to advance to higher levels of nursing in established shared governance models. Many local and surrounding residents that choose the nursing profession pursue the ADN at Frederick Community College (FCC) for the convenient location. These graduates now have the luxury of obtaining their BSN in the same community.

The classes are hosted at Hood, with on-site support from FMH and FCC. FMH is staffed with 60% ADN and 40% BSN or above prepared nurses. FMH is committed to supporting their employees as they strive to promote the highest level of education for their staff.



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