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Bridges to excellence experience is a program that provides registered nurses an opportunity to seek professional development in disciplines their units may not be able to provide, as well as, offering the possibility of experiencing new challenges. This program allows a nurse to utilize professional leave time while in the program.

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Bridges to excellence was an idea born from the previous CN III education committee to provide an avenue for nurses at UC Davis Health to experience a different aspect of nursing care, whether it is acute care/telemetry, women’s health, nursing supervisor or the operating room. The opportunity to shadow an experienced nurse allows nurses the chance to explore clinical areas they are interested in or curious about and to provide intellectual stimulation. The program can be a four, eight, or twelve-hour experience allowing a nurse to use their professional leave and obtain BRN contact hours.


Each observation visit of 4, 8, or 12 hours includes one hour to complete the evaluation and exemplar. Contact hours are based on one for every three hours spent in observation and one for completing the exemplar, i.e., an 8 hour observation would be 7 hours with your preceptor and 1 hour for writing the exemplar and evaluation for a total of 3.3 contact hours.

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Prior to your visit

In order to participate in the Bridges to Excellence program a nurse must:

  • Pumps Ralph 723238 Lauren Black Shoes LEE 802 001 Have worked on a unit for a minimum of one year
  • Approval of manager from the unit you will be visiting and receive an assigned preceptor
  • If planning to use professional leave to complete the program please discuss with current manager concerning time off requests
  • Contact your preceptor designated by the nurse manger to discuss the goals and objectives you wish to experience while visiting the unit
  • Complete the online form:
  • Shoes Pumps 001 723238 Ralph Lauren LEE Black 802 If desired the nurse can shadow up to three – twelve hour shifts or 40 hours in one or several locations per year

Observational visit

  • Report to the unit wearing professional attire, team up with your preceptor at the arranged time, and experience your Bridge to Excellence!
  • The nurse spends the required three, seven or eleven hours shadowing the preceptor, and additional hour completing evaluation and exemplar
  • The bridges nurse is not to take a patient assignment or do skills that they are not competent in completing, this is a shadowing experience only

After your visit

  • Complete the following online forms to receive continuing education contact hours:
  • See handout on "Writing an Exemplar" (PDF)
    • An exemplar is a story of a real patient told to illustrate an RNs practice. The exemplar is written in the first person and describes in detail a particular clinical situation that includes the nurse's thoughts, feelings, intentions, actions, critical thinking and decision-making process
    • The exemplar is an opportunity to explore the richness of an individual RNs practice and experience. It shows how the RN uses his or her knowledge, experience, skills and personal resources in the care of an individual patient and/or family
  • Remember to include your plan to complete the Bridges to Excellence Program in your annual professional development plan. The exemplar should also be kept in your professional portfolio
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Answers to FAQ

  • Professional Leave is granted by home unit/department
  • Professional Leave time is not required, may do on personal time at manager’s discretion
  • While it is not limited to a specific number of hours, it is encouraged to not spend more than 36 hours in any single observational activity
  • The Bridges Experience is not for orientation or skills checkoff
  • Contact hours are awarded after CPPN has received all the required documents
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