Nursing at Penn Medicine

Nursing Clinical Advancement Recognition Program at Penn Medicine

The Penn Medicine entities that participate in the Clinical Advancement Recognition Program (CARP) include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania (CPUP) and Penn Home Care & Hospice Services. An unwavering commitment to professional development and the ongoing acknowledgement of nurses who provide direct care to patients is key to Penn Medicine’s nursing program.

Recognizing Nurses

CARP is a component of the Penn Medicine professional practice model. It focuses on the recognition of professional nurses and their practice. Consistent with Penn Medicine’s mission, the Clinical Advancement Recognition Program is designed to recognize all clinical nurses for their contributions to quality patient care, including clinical knowledge and professional achievements.


This is a four-level system that places clinical practices and skills at the core of nurses' professional development and recognition.

  • Level I is the entry level for new-to-practice nurses.
  • Level II is the fundamental practice level for the professional nurse. It represents nurses who have achieved the next level of competency and have acquired the clinical and professional knowledge and skills to practice in their area.
  • Clinical staff nurses also have opportunities to advance to Level III and Level IV based on their refined knowledge, skills and behaviors. Additionally, there is a three-level advancement program based on functional roles and clinical expertise, for clinical nurse specialists.

Penn Medicine Clinical Excellence Awards

As part of CARP, Penn Medicine Clinical Excellence awards are presented annually to nurses selected from each entity. The four awards are named for the domains of nursing practice that are the foundation of the Clinical Advancement Recognition Program. A call for nominations is sent to nurses and colleagues at all Penn Medicine entities, and the nominations are submitted to a peer committee. Selections are made based on established criteria. The annual Penn Medicine Clinical Excellence Awards Ceremony is held to recognize the four award recipients. Personalized plaques are prominently displayed at each entity to immortalize their contributions.

Lillian Brunner Award for Clinical Judgment and Decision Making
Awarded to nurses who demonstrate the highest quality of patient care and exhibit excellent clinical judgment, based on critical priorities and evaluating the patient's response to care. Reframing clinical situations, they include other health care team members in the development of an appropriate plan.

Rosalyn J. Watts Award for Nurse-Patient/Family Relationship
This award recognizes nurses who consistently establish therapeutic relationships with patients and their families, characterized by individualized care. Knowing their patients, they incorporate religious, spiritual, ethnic and cultural beliefs into the delivery of care.

Dorothy Botdorf Award for Clinical Leadership
This award recognizes the importance of leadership skills as a component of nursing practice at the point of direct care. Clinical leadership is exemplified by the nurses' abilities to work through others to achieve better patient outcomes and contribute to a nurturing environment for practice.

Helen McClelland Award for Clinical Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to nurses who exhibit an attitude of clinical inquiry that integrates evaluation and utilizes research and/or evidence into the delivery of care to patients and are committed to a spirit of lifelong learning. They draw on reflective practice as a way of building expertise.