Has anyone developed a career ladder just within the education department? Our department includes both clinical and non-clinical associates. A few focus on customer groups such as Med-Surg and Critical Care while others are more involved in program development. We all provide inservices, orientation presentations etc. We are finding it difficult to mesh multiple areas of expertise into a ladder. Any insight would be appreciated.
Jul 20, '04
We don't have a formalized ladder, but we have meshed different roles at different levels ... some centralized and some decentralized ... and it seems to work fairly well.
We have 2 levels of educator positions (with different job titles), one for people with Master's Degrees and one for people without. This establishes 2 pay grades.
The Master's-prepared people are called Clinical Practice and Education Specialists (abbreviated CPES) and we all report to the centralized Nursing Practice and Education Department. Some of us focus on hospital-wide programs and some are assigned to one particular unit, but we all report centrally. Those that focus one particular unit have their offices on that unit to increase their accessiblity to that unit and integration into that unit's culture. Almost every unit in the hospital has a CPES plus there are 2 of us whose focus is hospital-wide (though even the unit-based CPES's work on some hospital-wide projects).
Our second level of educator is for people without Master's Degrees (BSN preferred). A couple are housed in the Nursing Practice and Education Department and report to that department. The rest are on the clinical units and actually report to that clinical department. Their job is to assist the CPES with unit-based education and to provide some of the recurrant routine programs (e.g. regularly offered orientation classes). Their job title is Education Coordinator and they are usually scheduled for a given number of "office days" per pay period plus a couple of clinical shifts. The CPES helps them the "big picture" planning, program evaluation, etc. and mentors new coordinators who are usually promoted from the population of staff nurses on that unit.
It's not a perfect system, but I don't think any system is perfect. This one has worked well enough for us to have kept it since we developed it about 6 years ago.
Jul 25, '04
We are in the process of changing titles and job descriptions and we are still deciding on a system. Right now we are one centralized department and we are all Education Coordinators. Many of us are BSNs enrolled in grad school and a few have their Master's. We have one coordinator who does everything for the ambulatory care areas and 2 full time and one part time coordinator(s) who covers everything else hospital wide. The three of us work with every single department in the hospital (not just nursing) in a consultation type role.
We also have one coordinator who is part time and is non-clinical. This person focuses on manager/leadership development only.
We were thinking of having two types of coordinators; clinical and non-clinical, and perhaps having an Education Coordinator and an Education Specialist. Our problem is figuring out the difference between the two positions.
Jul 26, '04
Interesting, Suzy. I always like to read how other people have organized their education departments. Having worked for several different hospitals over the years, I have found each one to be unique.
I like our distinction between those with MSN's and those without because it is one of the few ways we can honor and reward the advanced education. I also like our committment to have someone with a MSN for almost every unit. However, the fact that the non-Master's prepared, unit-based Education Coordinators report to their clinical department is sometimes problematic for us. Because they don't report to the centralized education department, they don't always get the support they need and the coordination of schedules and priorities is not always optimal.
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