California Clinical Nurse Leader Degrees

At health care institutions and facilities all over California, nurses aren't just part of a specific specialty or medical team. Instead, many specialties and facilities have entire nursing departments that include CNAs, LPNs, RNs, APRNs, CRNAs, and other nursing professionals. With different practice requirements and licensing expectations at each level, it is important for the nursing industry to have leaders who can unify the field and set goals for facilities and departments.

If you have a Bachelor’s degree or Associate’s degree in nursing, now may be the time to further your education with a graduate degree. Employment experts claim that job prospects are better for nurses with MSN degrees, thanks to the possibility of taking on senior-level administration positions (CBS Local, 2015).

High-level nursing professionals note that ongoing education is a huge part of succeeding in this industry, since it permits nurses to combine their experience with approved training (CBS Local, 2015).

Do you want to find out how your nursing experience may qualify you for competitive leadership roles? Request information from nursing leadership graduate programs in California to learn more about the process of becoming a CNL.

How Can I Become a Clinical Nurse Leader in California?

To earn the title of Clinical Nurse Leader in California, a Master's degree in nursing is required. A Master's degree in nursing leadership covers health policy, nursing management, health care funding, and systems used in health care environments.
When you begin your training at this level, your curriculum may include these courses:
• Evidence-Based Practice: Role of Theory and Research
• Management of Health Care System Quality Outcomes and Patient Safety
• Clinical Nursing Leadership: Theory and Practice
• Influencing the Health Care Environment: Policy and Systems
• Evidence-Based Practice Capstone Project

Before applying to programs around California, make sure that you're a good fit for a nurse leadership program. Many programs require a Bachelor's degree in nursing, but some schools offer alternative programs for Associate's-level nurses and non-nursing Bachelor’s graduates. Experience is a big part of the admissions process. Experience in different nursing specialties and settings may serve you well when you start applying to graduate school.

Financial aid is available through a variety of sources. The Association of California Nurse Leaders funds scholarships for promising leadership students.
Once you graduate, you must become licensed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to obtain the title of Clinical Nurse Leader. After passing a thorough exam, you receive a license that must be renewed every five years. During each renewal cycle, plan on completing 50 hours of continuing education.

Furthermore, it is important to maintain a California registered nursing license. The State of California Board of Registered Nursing requires the completion of 30 continuing education credits every two years.

What Does a Clinical Nurse Leader Do?

The role of Clinical Nurse Leader has largely been developed and articulated over the last 10 years, so your work experience may differ quite a bit between employers. In general, CNLs oversee the coordination of patient care, implement evidence-based care plans, make difficult decisions while under pressure, and pave the way for innovations in health care.

Because of the amount of experience and education you bring to the table, you may also find that you are in a position to influence health care policy and encourage registered nurses to further their education. The role you play as a professional mentor and guide is extremely important.

As a nurse leader, you may work closely with organizations like the American Nursing Association of California to contribute to the improvement of current issues and lend your voice to advocacy efforts. For example, major advances made by nurse leaders in California include stricter immunization laws and increased recognition of magnet hospitals throughout the state.

It's important to remember that the role of Clinical Nurse Leader does not refer to a strictly administrative position that involves managing nurses. Yes, it is likely that you will serve in a management capacity, but you should still expect to spend quite a bit of your time working with patients. In fact, you may enjoy a more independent role in patient care, as CNLs often create care plans and enforce them with staff nurses.

California is home to tons of clinics and hospitals that could benefit from stronger leadership and streamlined care. As a nurse leader, you can lead your facility to greater success. Take the first step now by looking into graduate nursing leadership programs in California.

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