Role Specific Advancement

Levels, Domains & Behaviors

The four Levels of nursing practice within the Role Specific Advancement Model are based in part on the Benner Model of Knowledge and Skill Acquisition. 

There are 10 Domains of Nursing Practice described in the Role Specific Advancement Model:

Behaviors describe the expected performance of a nurse at each Level of RSAM. Behaviors are described for each Domain of Nursing Practice. When viewed from “Competent/Role Entry” across the grid to “Expert” and finally to “Mastery Plus”, increasingly advanced behaviors are evident within each domain. Per Contract Addendum D, Section A, 8): Meeting a preponderance (vast majority) of behaviors in the Role Specific Advancement Model is the basis for advancement.


RSAM Levels


A Role Specific nurse who has learned and can effectively address the essential aspects of the role in their daily practice while also beginning to make contributions to the work setting.


A Role Specific nurse who demonstrates depth of knowledge of the role and individualized, often innovative practice while also making contributions to the unit and profession. Develops professional goals and demonstrates attention to own professional development.


A Role Specific nurse who possesses masterful knowledge and skill in the role, even in the most complex situations, while also making significant contributions within and often beyond the workplace as well as the profession.  Is goal driven around own professional development with clear evidence of advancing professional identity.

Mastery Plus

A master's degree prepared nurse whose practice is driven by evidence and patient outcomes based on the patient population and allows for critical evaluation of work in the field. Pursues learning as a journey of ongoing personal development and excellence in and beyond chosen discipline. Consistently role models and infuses evidence based knowledge into practice.
RSAM Domains

Clinical Thinking and Judgment

Systems Thinking


Therapeutic Relationships/Engagement

and Professional Relationships

Facilitator of Learning and Professional Development

Response (responsiveness; sensitivity) to Diversity

Advancing Evidence Based Practice through Research and Innovation




Note: Subheadings beneath each Domain vary by role in order to fully describe the unique aspects of each of the RSAM roles

Guide for Self-Reflection

Begin the process by printing a copy of the RSAM Behaviors Tool for your role:

When considering an application for advancement in the Role Specific Advancement Model, Clinical Care Coordinators, Educational Nurse Coordinators, RN Case Managers, and Flight Nurse Specialists should take the time for self-reflection.

Think about:

  • your most memorable patient situations
  • what stories you might tell about your practice
  • your professional contributions and accomplishments in your immediate practice environment and beyond

As you work your way through the grid, you will quite possibly find that the behaviors which describe your individual practice are scattered over several levels. Circle the ones that you feel best describe you. You may find that looking at the behaviors helps you set goals for yourself for the future.

When you have an idea of what RSAM Level most aligns with your practice and where you believe you can demonstrate meeting the vast majority of behaviors, go to the Application Portfolio section on this website and look at the application requirements. Be sure to read through the checklist.

As you write drafts and gather required documents, you may wish to contact the coach (see the Coach section on the Tools & Resources page) for feedback, support and encouragement.



Contact Us

We invite your thoughts, feedback, questions and comments related to the Professional Development Framework and Role Specific Advancement Model! 

Please contact Mary Anne Brancheau, BSN, RN-BC at
(734) 232-1091 or email

Our Framework/RSAM Office Location
University of Michigan Health System
Professional Development and Education
300 N. Ingalls St.
6th Floor B Wing, Rm. 6B04
Ann Arbor, MI. 48109-5436

Thank you!














Target Audience: UMHS Nursing | Author/Contact: Mary Anne Brancheau

Web Publisher/Designer/Developer: April Stingo | Reviewed:02/22/2018