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University of Colorado Hospital

UEXCEL Practice Program Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. Do I really need to become certified if I am a Level III or Level IV?
    Yes, the UEXCEL standards have stated this for 2 years, and it has been on the performance appraisal for 2 years. Since many RNs did not realize this, the Managers and Directors developed an algorithm, under the leadership of Sally Garcia, Nurse Manager of Women’s Care Center. It is posted on the UEXCEL website, and outlines the steps and time table of certification. Please consult this algorithm so you will not be caught short by the timelines on this document.
  2. What if I do not want to advance in UEXCEL from Level II to Level III, or Level III to Level IV?
    You do not have to advance. UEXCEL advancement is a choice that a professional registered nurse makes about his or her career path. Advancing is the opportunity to be promoted and recognized for the achievements you demonstrate clinically and in other professional areas. However, if you choose not to advance, you are electing to stay at a lower level than your expertise. If you are doing the work of a clinical nurse at a higher level of practice, it is unfortunate that you do not advance, since the process validates your practice and lets you receive the recognition you deserve as a role model and fiscally through an increased base pay rate, in addition to your pay for performance.
  3. How is it an advantage to advance fiscally? I thought it seemed like a very small amount of a base pay increase.
    Actually, it may seem like a small amount but it makes a significant difference over time. Here is a comparison of salary over time. If you examine this carefully, this shows it would take 8 years to ‘make up’ the difference between a nurse not advancing and one who does. The following scenario is very conservative, and was developed by our Director of Human Resources Compensation, Ellen Rehmar, MPH, who is also one of our Human Resources UEXCEL Board members. Here is the background of this scenario:
    • It is assumed the manager takes into account the UEXCEL Level of the RN when allocating market adjustments.
    • The market adjustment for pay for performance used to be 4%   for exceeds in 2007 and 2008. These percents are calculated into those years. In 2009 and in the future, it will be 2.0% for meets and 2.5% for exceeds. These percents are in the numbers for these years.
    • The increase for credentialing from Level II to Level III is 4%.
    • This scenario assumes the person who stays at Level II always exceeds, and the nurse who advances to Level III only exceeds the year they credential, and does not exceed after 2007 (the scenario that RNs are worried about when considering advancing). It is unlikely the RN advancing would never exceed over the years at Level III, but we chose the worst case scenario.
    • The scenario does not take into account overtime rates or special contracts.

  4. Advancing seems too hard and a lot of time. Why is it by portfolio and so much work?
    When you advance, you are asking for a promotion to a new level of nursing practice, which means a new job classification, pay grade, and a new salary. Like any new position, you apply and your credentials to be promoted are  evaluated. At UCH we use peers on the UEXCEL Board to do this, so that it is equitable. This is why we all RNs, regardless of site of employment, go through the same process to avoid favoritism. Any RN who feels he or she is qualified and meets the criteria can apply. Since it is an internal promotion, your manager needs to affirm this by signing your intent to credential. Members of the UEXCEL Board and nursing leadership hope you will complete the process. Most nurses find advancing to be a positive experience, generating pride in themselves and their success. The Board has an advisor program to avoid any barriers to reaching your goal. Experience tells us an advisor is essential to success, so contact your UEXCEL Board representative to help you!!