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As YNHH nursing force grows, so does its clinical ladder

Each quarter, Yale-New Haven Hospital recognizes the nurses who advance on its clinical ladder. Called the Recognition and Clinical Advancement Program but popularly known as RCAP, the program was introduced in 1991 and since then has advanced almost 4,000 nurses.

RCAP has three levels and nurses may advance to Clinical Nurse II, III and IV. With the approval and encouragement of their managers, nurses develop a professional portfolio which includes exemplars based on significant experiences with patients as well as additional documentation of their professional practice.

The fall RCAP celebration was the first to include nurses from the Saint Raphael Campus who had advanced. In all, almost 80 nurses were honored at the fall ceremony.

Patti Brown, RN, Medical Oncology Unit on the SRC, was one of two nurses to advance to CN IV at the recent celebration. The other was Kelly Bonito, RN, Neuroscience/Epilepsy Unit.

One of Brown's exemplars included the story of her work with a patient who no longer wanted to walk. Brown and other equally committed nurses from her unit got him out of bed and helped him walk down the hall. When he returned to his room, he found that the door had been blocked — by Brown's colleagues — and he could not enter.

The nurses kept him walking. That success gave him hope and confidence and changed his outlook, and his outcome. Today, he is a volunteer at Yale-New Haven.

"My work reflects the work of the entire team on our unit," says Brown. "RCAP gives nurses the opportunity to capture some of the special things that go on each day that result in positive outcomes for our patients. After 27 years as a nurse, RCAP gave me the opportunity to advance my practice and to be acknowledged for the work we do every day for our patients."

The RCAP Committee is co-chaired by Catherine Ford, RN, CN IV, Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, and Mary McNally, RN, CN IV, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. The committee reviews applications throughout the year and applications and exemplars for the next class of RCAP are due Friday, April 25.

Yale-New Haven Hospital news release

Yale-New Haven Hospital is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine. Yale-New Haven was founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826. Today, the hospital's two New Haven-based inpatient campuses include Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. YNHH's York Street campus and associated ambulatory sites are Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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