Clinical program a win for nurses and patients

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The low man on the totem pole always needs an ace up his sleeve to get ahead.

Person Memorial Hospital, like other small rural hospitals, is the low man on the totem pole as it relates the hospital hierarchy in the state.

Rural hospitals – exceedingly dependent on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements – often struggle to attract and retain top notch professional healthcare providers.

Joining forces with other hospitals as Person Memorial did when it became part of Duke LifePoint helps in that regard. It gives the hospital some buying power and it provides them leverage in negotiations with large insurers who often want to bully hospitals into taking smaller payments for their services.

But now, PMH has gone a step further. In an effort to attract – and especially to retain – good nurses, the hospital has established what it calls a clinical ladder. It is a professional development designation that lets people know those who have completed steps in the program are good at what they do.

We don’t care what the job is, positive affirmation that you are doing a good job is always welcome and appreciated. The recognition alone makes an employee feel more valued and therefore more likely to stay in their workplace.

Achieving the next step in the clinical ladder process also means a fatter paycheck for those who move up the ladder. Unlike the public praise, the monetary raise is a tangible way the hospital can show it supports good workers.

The clinical ladder program is new to PMH, but it is not new. We are excited for the five nurses who accomplished their first step up the ladder. We are glad that hospital leaders – in their quest to improve the reputation and quality of care at the hospital – are looking for ways to keep the very best staff members they can find.

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