In the early years of nursing, nurses were simply considered assistants for doctors and physicians. However, that role change quickly to include providing health care services, serving as the eyes and ears for busy doctors, and working independently with patients as advanced practitioners. This rapid growth and the expanding scope of practice for nurses means that the need for qualified leadership is at an all-time high.
In Arizona, you may have the opportunity to guide the industry through a period of change. Industry researchers predict an approaching shortfall of over 28,000 nurses by 2025, making Arizona's anticipated nurse shortage the worst in the country (Arizona Capitol Times, 2015). As a nurse leader, you can oversee the on-the-job training and assessment of new nurses to ensure proper patient care.
Nurse leaders are also trusted to reduce accidents and incidents in health care settings. Nursing home errors and violations are increasing in Arizona, and roughly half of them are considered serious (Nogales International, 2015).
If you are confident in your nursing skills and you're ready to take your career to the next level, discover what you can do with a Master’s degree in nursing leadership in Arizona.
Arizona has several options for aspiring nurse leaders. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you should already have the nursing knowledge and critical thinking skills required for graduate-level study. RN to MSN programs help students develop their Bachelor's-level knowledge before transitioning them into graduate courses. Depending on your current level of education and experience, you may be able to graduate in as little as 15 months.
Traditional MSN programs in Arizona, which require a BSN, require about 30 credits. RN to MSN programs include approximately 45 credits. You may build your leadership skills in courses like those listed here:
- Foundations of System Leadership
- Evidence-Based Practice Improvement
- Healing Environments and Practices
- Healthcare Business Dynamics
- Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
- Health Information and Patient Care Technologies
Some schools require the completion of clinical hours at an approved hospital or clinic. Others test your knowledge through a capstone project. Both options can sharpen your understanding of what it means to be a Clinical Nurse Leader and demonstrate your personal and professional growth throughout your training.
By the time you graduate, you should be able to meet specific learning goals created for CNL students. Your instructors may look at your ability to use research and experience to improve healing environments, improve the patient experience, and make delivery processes more efficient and patient-based.
Before you can call yourself a Clinical Nurse Leader, you must sit for the licensing exam administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Once you are certified, your certification is valid for five years. To renew your certification, you must have 50 hours of approved continuing education. Furthermore, you have to keep your registered nursing license valid through the Arizona Board of Nursing. This agency requires you to renew every two years.
Becoming a nursing manager or nursing executive is a big step, especially if you are used to taking orders and directives from charge nurses, APRNs, and physicians. With each passing year, more and more health care facilities hire nursing managers to manage staff, oversee patient care, and improve the efficiency of the nursing program as a whole.
At any given point, the nurse leadership specialty may be addressing specific goals and needs. The Arizona Organization of Nurse Executives discovers major issues in the field and develops plans to address them. As a member of this group, you may also be able to learn about employment options, network with leaders in the industry, and stay on top of new research.
The goals of the Arizona Organization of Nurse Executives are often in line with what the AACN hopes to see in the future of nursing leadership. The mission statement of the AzONE notes that it aims to provide affordable, safe, and effective care for patients by empowering nurse leaders throughout the state.
Nursing changes on a near-constant basis. No matter what the future of nursing brings, every state needs strong leaders to guide its health care industry to higher standards and better outcomes.
To explore your education options, take a look at our list of nursing leadership programs in Arizona and locate programs near you.