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Nursing Professional Practice

Baccalaureate Degrees
At SJH, it is required to have a Baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing upon hire or you must obtain a BSN within 5 years of hire date.  SJH offers monetary assistance to obtain a BSN degree or higher in nursing through our Career Development Program.  One focus of the Career Development Program is tuition reimbursement, which gives clinical associates up to $1,500 per year for part time employees or $3,000 per year for full time employees to pursue undergraduate degrees and up to $5,000 per year for full time employees to pursue graduate degrees.  In addition, annual scholarships from the SJH Foundation are awarded during Nurses Week. Nurses can apply for financial assistance through the SJH Foundation’s four scholarship funds: The Viola Vestal Coulter Nursing Education Assistance Scholarship, the Sides Nursing Scholarship, The Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) Education Fund and the Saint Joseph School of Nursing Alumni Scholarship.

As of March 2020, over 85% of SJH nurses hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing.  



Certification in their specialty is a critical aspect of professional development for Saint Joseph Hospital nurses.  SJH has also put into place several programs and policies to support nurses to become certified.  SJH provides many different avenues of support for nurses to achieve and maintain national certification.  SJH provides monetary assistance to pursue professional certification, which gives clinical associates up to $750 for part time employees or $1,500 for full time employees.  Certification review courses are provided at SJH, taught by clinical educators or outside vendors.  These included Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) review, Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) review, and Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) review.  Lastly, SJH partnered with American Nurses Credential Center (ANCC) to enlist the Success Pays program, allowing nurses two chances and twelve months to pass the certification test.  The application fee is discounted and ANCC only bills for the nurses who pass.  

As of March 2020, over 50% of SJH nurses hold a professional certification in nursing.  

SJHCertified Nurses

Clinical Ladder
Saint Joseph Hospital’s nursing leaders are working to recognize and reward our registered nurses who expand their clinical expertise and leadership skills while they are making a difference at the bedside.  

The Clinical Ladder program was designed for professional development and to reward nurses for education, certification, leadership, clinical skills and research.  The program is voluntary and allows nurses to participate at their own pace and interest.  Nurses are compensated with a differential that equates to the level of the Clinical Ladder program they have been accepted to.  Nurses can apply to be on the Clinical Ladder, Level III (Proficient), after one year of nursing experience.  There are two other levels:  Level IV (Advanced) and Level V (Expert).  

As of March 2020, over 100 clinical nurses are on the Clinical Ladder.  

Joe’s Mentor Program:  Demonstrating Excellence through Caring
In order to continue to provide the new graduate nurses professional development support, new graduate nurses participate in the SJH Joe’s Mentor Program: Demonstrating Excellence through Caring. While the mentor program is voluntary, all new graduates as of the March 2020 cohort have participated. The pairing of mentors and mentees is facilitated by the shift specialty coordinators (SSC)/clinical nurses, educators and managers of the units on which the new graduate nurses will work. Priority is given to matching mentors and mentees on the same unit, same shift and same gender in accord with the data reviewed from literature. 

The formal mentor relationship lasts for six months. During the first month, the mentor and mentee meet twice face to face.  The mentor and mentee are matched after the new graduate nurse has completed orientation with their preceptor and is working independently.  During their meetings, the mentor and mentee discuss the mentee’s professional vision, including where they want to be in one, five and 10 years. They discuss the struggles and successes the mentee has experienced as well as learning opportunities and challenging patients, co-workers and families. Most mentors and mentees meet for coffee or lunch, but some have gone rock climbing and hiking together. Many mentors and mentees continue their mentor relationship long past the formal six month requirement. 

As of March 2020, 95 associates have attended the mentor class, and 86 new graduate clinical nurses have been matched with experienced SJH nurses as mentors.

Denver Care Sites/SJH Preceptor Program
Take your career to the next level and sign up for the Denver Care Sites/SJH Preceptor Program.  Discover the rewarding satisfaction from sharing knowledge and expertise, participating in the career growth of your preceptee, the honor and recognition of becoming a preceptor, and the stimulation of your own professional and personal growth.  The Preceptor Course is designed to provide training, development and incentives for qualified, competent clinical staff working in the preceptor role for new graduates, new associates, and one-to-one student practicums.  A preceptor shares patient assignments, is responsible for the patient care delivered by the preceptee, provides expert feedback, fosters reflective practice, is a role model for safe, quality patient care, and helps socialize the novice associate to their new role.

  • Preceptor Program Guidelines
    - Manager approval is required.
    - Preceptors are expected to train new associates, internships, transfers, and students.
    - Preceptors may be eligible for the $1.50 pay differential.
    - Preceptors need to attend preceptor training once every two years to maintain their eligibility to receive the differential pay.

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