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Professional Growth

At Children’s, the Department of Nursing supports the career aspirations of all of our nurses and encourages nurses to periodically assess career goals. Children’s believes that professional development is an important component of providing excellent patient care outcomes.

Professional development opportunities we offer

Nursing Orientation
Each nurse receives an introduction and overview to the goals, policies, procedures, and traditions of the Department of Nursing. This allows for successful integration into the nursing culture and system of patient care delivery at Children’s.

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Educational Opportunities
The Department of Nursing offers a broad range of educational activities and events at the hospital to provide research and evidence-based information on relevant patient care and health services-related topics. The department also provides opportunities for nurses to attend educational programs at institutions of higher learning to further their professional goals.

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Shared Leadership Councils 
Shared Leadership Councils within the Department of Nursing and at the unit/department level provide the opportunity for staff nurses to take part in shared decision making. Shared decision making benefits all parties—staff nurses, leadership nurses, physicians, and most importantly our patients.

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Local, Regional and National Conferences
Nurses at Children’s can apply to attend local, regional and national professional conferences to enhance personal and professional development and to share information with their peers.

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National Certification
Children’s nurses are encouraged to seek national specialty certification from accredited nursing organizations. These certifications validate that an RN is practicing excellent patient care with exceptional patient outcomes.

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Nursing Grand Rounds
These clinical development programs help registered nurses build clinical knowledge and skills. The programs are targeted toward but not limited to registered nurses who work on inpatient units.

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Professional Advancement Program (Clinical Ladder)
The professional development clinical ladder allows nurses to advance in their career without leaving the bedside, and therefore is a means by which RNs can continue to advance their clinical skills and be promoted. The program acknowledges the value of the expert nurse at the bedside and how they can positively affect patient outcomes. The program captures the essence, richness, and complexity of nursing practice at Children’s National. It provides for an additional level of prestige, respect, and job satisfaction for the bedside RN. The conceptual framework for the advancement program is based on Patricia Benner’s theory from novice to expert. During the clinical ladder process at Children’s National nurses demonstrate their integral contribution to the mission of Children’s: Care, Advocacy, Research and Education all within the context of patient/family centered care.

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The Neonatal Critical Care Fellowship Program, Critical Care Nursing Fellowship Program and Perioperative Nursing Fellowship Program are available to those seeking advanced clinical experiences tailored to specific interests and learning needs. The length of the fellowships varies depending on the specialty. For an application or more information contact Jill Titone Board, nurse recruiter at 301-244-4831 or

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The Simulation Learning Center

Children's Simulation Learning Center.

Clinical Simulation is a practical and necessary method of teaching/learning and evaluating competence. Simulation allows the adult learner to be self-paced, receive immediate feedback and develop critical thinking skills, and provides for knowledge reinforcement. Simulation facilitates learning through enactment and imitation of a condition or situation using computer driven manikins that mimic human symptoms and provides responses to caregiver actions.

Children’s National Simulation Learning Center opened May 7, 2008. The Learning Center is equipped with high-fidelity computerized human simulators and a simulated clinical environment that promotes learning, and practice of complex patient care management procedures.  Use of the simulation center is now and integral component of nursing education programs offered to Children’s National registered nurses.  Additionally, other disciplines use the simulation center to promote effective interdisciplinary clinical functioning. 

Additional enhancements underway include videotaping for critique following scenarios, and programmable stethoscopes, and CDs for breath and heart sounds.

Simulation Technology Instructor Development

The Simulation Learning Center at Children's National Medical Center.

The Board of Visitors (BOV) has provided a generous grant to support the BOV Simulation Program at Children's National. Simulation is an educational methodology that allows clinicians to learn, practice, and repeat procedures or situations to enhance individual and team performance. Hands-on simulation helps teams and individuals develop preparedness and insight that is best learned and practiced in realistic conditions.

Our simulation team is available for consultation to create an individualized education plan using simulation to meet your identified needs, from performing pediatric skills to improving inter-professional teamwork and communication.  We can also design a facilitator workshop for clinician leaders and educators to facilitate simulation scenarios within their agency or private practice. Full time technical support is available to ensure that every clinical simulation experience is of the highest quality and achieves all desired academic and clinical goals.

The intent of BOV Simulation Outreach is to improve collaboration between clinicians at Children’s National and referring providers, EMS personnel, community hospitals, and pediatricians in the Metropolitan Washington DC area. Through simulation outreach, Children’s National aims to improve health care and health outcomes of children by ensuring providers are appropriately trained to respond to their unique health needs. 

What Works Better

Simulation is used at Children’s National in a variety of settings and with various learning objectives. Session evaluations document measurable outcomes. Examples of how teams use simulation training at Children’s National include:

  • Initial skills training and/or competency development (Acute Care/Critical Care Nursing, Physician Residency program, Pediatric Trauma Care )
  • Family-centered rounds
  • Emergency Department resuscitation training
  • Inter-professional simulations
  • Trauma team training
  • Pediatric inpatient decompensating patient scenarios
  • Patient/ family education
  • Communication with patients and families (e.g. family-centered rounds, challenging conversations, delivering bad news, displaying empathy, service excellence)

Here’s a full list of courses.

·       For further questions or guidance through the reservation process, please email

·       Simulation Outreach Coordinator, Heather Walsh, 202-476-4202

·       Simulation Learning Center, 202-476-5816

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