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 VPNPP will launch an upgrade July 1, 2019.  The deadline to complete advancement applications using the current VPNPP process is June 30, 2019.

Nurses considering applying for VPNPP or currently completing an application are encouraged to use the current VPNPP process.  Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2019.  After this date, all applications will need to be submitted using the new process.

Please contact any member of the VPNPP Leadership Team for further questions.


The Vanderbilt Professional Nursing Practice Program (VPNPP)
is a performance-based career advancement program for nurses.   It is supported by a comprehensive performance evaluation system that utilizes self-, peer-, and manager- evaluation to recognize and reward clinical nursing expertise in direct patient care. All direct care nurses participate in VPNPP at one of four levels.

Levels of Nursing Practice

Level 1 – Novice
This group consists of nurses with less than 12 months of clinical nursing experience.

Level 2 – Competent
This group consists of nurses with more than 12 months of clinical nursing experience.
All nurses are required to attain and maintain practice at this level.

Level 3 – Proficient
This group consists of nurses who participate in continued self-education, changing unit or organizational processes

Level 4 – Expert
This group consists of nurses who lead and evaluate unit and organizational process changes using evidence as a guide for change.

The Goals of VPNPP are to: 

  1. Attract and retain clinical nurses in direct patient care
  2. Position Vanderbilt to be the “Employer of Choice” in the community
  3. Reward nursing performance in accordance with indicators of clinical expertise and contribution to the team, the work area, and the organization
  4. Provide opportunities for promotion for nurses in the practice of direct patient care
  5. Achieve consistent nursing performance standards and pay equity across the clinical enterprise
  6. Build a Performance Development System that promotes, supports, recognizes, and rewards nurses by:
  • Clearly defining expectation of job for each nursing job description
  • Utilizing evidence-based practice for the improvement of patient care
  • Accurately and objectively measuring performance
  • Highlighting strengths and targeting areas for professional growth

VPNPP exists to promote, support, recognize, and reward you as you grow within the role of the professional nurse as defined by internal and external practice standards, the context of the organization culture, and external environmental influences.


Educational Resources*
* = employees only
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Understanding VPNPP Advancement

Understanding VPNPP Scoring Descriptors


Central Committee
First and Third Thursday of every month
Email or call 6-5237 for more information on visiting to learn about advancement.

Contact Us

Kelly Ernst, MSN, RN-BC
Nursing Professional Development Specialist

Phone: 615-322-7428

Hope Spears, RN-BC, MSN
Nursing Education Specialist

Phone: 615-936-4178
Email: hope.c.spears@Vanderbilt.Edu

Program development/rationale and clinical, professional issues

Regina Stuart, Associate Program Manager
Phone: 615-936-4609
Online evaluation system, advancement logistics, general inquiries