In the health care industry, change and growth are directed by experienced leaders. This is very important in the field of nursing, where annual job growth and changes in practice rights cause the industry to constantly remain in a state of change. After getting your registered nursing license and working in Arkansas hospitals and clinics, you may be ready to take on the challenges of a nursing leadership role.
Graduate-level study in the field of nursing gives you experience in different aspects of health care and its role in patients’ lives.
Each year, nursing leaders from all over Arkansas attend the Annual Northeast Arkansas Nursing Conference (KSLA, 2015). This conference places a big emphasis on nursing leadership, as it is a growing belief in the nursing industry that leadership training should be a part of ongoing nursing education.
If you're looking for a way to use your work experience and education to improve health outcomes in Arkansas, a Master's degree in nurse leadership may be your next step.
Use our list of graduate nurse leadership programs in Arkansas to find out more about options near you.
Taking on a leadership role in nursing is a significant responsibility—you are expected to represent the field of nursing, serve as a mentor to nurses at different educational levels, comment on controversial health care issues, and constantly further your education through research and reading.
To give you the background you need to succeed in these areas, clinical nurse leadership programs often require you to complete at least 36 credits at the graduate level.
In your CNL curriculum, you may discover courses like these commonly required classes:
- Health Policy and Economics
- Research for Evidence Based Practice
- Healthcare Quality and Leadership
- Healthcare Informatics
- Evaluation in Nursing
These classes are chosen because they can help you meet the learning goals and outcomes of a nurse leadership program.
Get familiar with these learning outcomes to ensure that you make progress toward them during each semester:
- Integrate nursing science, humanities, research and evidence, and health care ethics
- Use leadership to improve care quality, safety, and patient experience
- Properly utilize health information systems and technology
- Understand the policies and regulation of the nursing industry
- Strengthen systems of care for better patient outcomes
Licensing is a crucial component in any nursing career. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing requires you to renew your nursing license every other year. You renew during odd or even-numbered years, depending on the year in which you receive your original license. Each renewal cycle requires 15 hours of continuing education.
You can then become licensed as a Clinical Nurse Leader through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Once you've provided proof of your education and your valid nursing license, you can sit for the licensing exam. After receiving your first license, you are required to renew every five years and complete 50 hours of continuing education.
The experience you have as a registered nurse should well prepare you for the work you'll take on as a nurse leader. Your graduate degree may prepare you for several different job titles, including clinical nurse leader, nurse executive, nurse manager, or nurse consultant.
The Arkansas Organization of Nurse Executives, based in Little Rock, serves as a place for nurse leaders to exchange ideas, learn about nursing trends, and explore employment opportunities. Joining this group may help you find out about continuing education programs, uncover management ideas for your facility, and strengthen the public image of nurse administrators.
The AACN, which licenses Clinical Nurse Leaders, notes that certain topics are prioritized in nurse leadership. Their conferences look at subjects like the integration of nurse leaders into microsystems, patient outcomes in different settings and specialties, and quality of care with Clinical Nurse Leaders. The priorities of your organization may be determined by how well they integrate nurse leaders into daily care and the role of research in the facility as a whole.
With nurses working at different levels of education and under various titles and certifications, it is extremely important for nursing staff to have strong leaders to follow.
With a Master's degree in nursing leadership, you may help change the face of nursing in Arkansas. Contact graduate programs in Arkansas to start the application process.