Strong leadership is an essential component within the field of nursing, particularly in states like Alabama, where rural communities often rely on nursing staff to meet the majority of their health care needs.
The role of Clinical Nurse Leaders has expanded recently throughout Alabama. The industry is looking for innovative ways to meet health care needs by running mobile clinics, outreach programs, and traveling clinics (WCBL, 2015). In order to function legally and provide high levels of care to patients, these clinics must employ highly educated nurse managers and leaders.
Another growing area of opportunity for Clinical Nurse Leaders is telemedicine (WHNT, 2015). This type of care makes it easier for rural patients to get prompt and accurate care from nurses. Clinical Nurse Leaders can oversee working nurses, ensure the quality of advice given, and streamline the calling process.
If you have experience working as a nurse and you are interested in using your knowledge in a new way, talk to nurse leadership programs in Alabama to learn more.
To become a certified Clinical Nurse Leader in Alabama, you must earn your national certification. This involves attending an accredited nurse leadership graduate program. Many programs require you to have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, but there are RN to MSN options and options for students with non-nursing Bachelor's degrees.
Generally, this type of program involves a bit more coursework than other nursing Master’s degrees. On average, expect to earn 36 credits over the course of two years in Alabama. Most schools require the completion of over 500 clinical hours.
You may earn your credits and expand your understanding of nursing in courses like:
- Physiopathological Basis of Advanced Nursing
- Clinical Nurse Leader Role and Competencies
- Evidence-Based Practice and Quality Improvement in Health Care
- Organizational & Systems Leadership
- Health Care Policy and Finance
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing accredits schools in this area of study. This is also the organization that awards certification in this specialty. Upon completing your training, you must successfully pass a three-hour licensing exam. The fee is $350 if you test at a nursing school or $425 if you test at an AACN testing site.
This certification is renewed every five years. In addition to paying a $310 renewal fee, you must submit proof of completion of 50 CEUs.
At all times, you must maintain a valid Alabama nursing license. The Alabama Board of Nursing requires you to earn 24 CEUs every two years. Renewing your registered nursing license costs $75.
As a Clinical Nurse Leader, you are in a great position to be recognized as an important player in your local nursing community. The role of the CNL encompasses both clinical care and administrative work. Although you may spend much of your time creating care plans, managing the work of other registered nurses, and staying on top of nursing research, you are still a significant part of the clinical care team. In your new clinical role, you may carry out your chosen care plans while directing the tasks and responsibilities of nursing staff in your department.
One of your goals as a CNL is to improve the care process for patients. This may be achieved in a variety of different ways. However, research covering the role of the CNL indicates that CNLs do successfully improve the patient experience. The National Center for Biotechnology Information found that the use of nurse leaders leads to improved nursing care, admissions procedures, and skill levels.
Keep in mind that the Clinical Nurse Leader certification is still relatively new. The CNL demonstration program began in 2004 and this role is still being implemented in hospitals and clinics across the country. As a nurse leader, you may be expected to direct the course of your career and educate medical staff on the role of the Clinical Nurse Leader.
Nurse managers and leaders are becoming more and more visible throughout Alabama. This is partially due to the efforts of groups like the Alabama Organization of Nurse Executives. On top of staying active in registered nursing professional organizations, joining the AONE may give you the chance to further the growth of the nursing leadership specialty.
As a nurse leader, you can make a huge difference in the nursing community and in the care that patients receive. Learn more about Master’s degree options in Alabama by contacting nurse leadership programs below.