Colorado is often viewed as one of the most medically progressive states in the country. Leaders and administrators at health care institutions and emergency care centers are dedicated to finding more efficient and cost-effective ways to provide evidence-based care. One of the biggest shifts in nursing care is the inclusion of the Clinical Nurse Leader, a nationally recognized graduate-level specialty.
Making the move to study nurse leadership in Colorado can put you in a position to contribute to programs and efforts throughout the state. Nurse leaders throughout the state recently joined the HIV Alliance to fight AIDS by creating care coordination programs and case management programs (The Villages Sun Times, 2015).
One area of growth in Colorado that has been controversial is the Right to Die law (CBS Local, 2015). Currently, nurse leaders are contributing to the development of this bill in many different ways. They utilize their experience, their knowledge of disease, and their care for patients to create a bill that is practical for clinicians and patients.
With a Master's degree in clinical nurse leadership, you can take your knowledge of the nursing industry to the next level.
Learn more about getting started in this program by contacting graduate nurse leadership programs in Colorado.
There are three main ways that you can earn a nurse leadership degree in Colorado. First, you may start with an Associate’s degree in nursing. This role requires you to complete an additional 30 credits to smoothly transition from ADN to BSN to MSN.
Second, you might have a Bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Before starting your graduate courses, you complete an accelerated set of nursing courses that allow you to get your license and prepare for graduate study. From there, you take the same path as other BSN graduates. Finally, starting with a BSN is likely the quickest option. This option typically only requires you to earn about 30 credits over the course of two years.
You enroll in a range of courses to develop your nursing leadership abilities. Look for courses like those listed here in your curriculum:
- Health Systems, Policy, and Social Justice
- Foundations of Advanced Nursing
- Research Methods for Nurses
- Foundations of Health Care Informatics
- Health Systems Management
- Systems & Leadership Theory
There are many traits, areas of knowledge, and practical skills that make up a strong nurse leader. Each school breaks these aspects of nurse leadership down into learning outcomes and goals.
By addressing these outcomes throughout your education, you can feel confident about the education you are getting:
- Building leadership and decision making skills
- Expanding the role of nurse leadership across Colorado
- Understanding the role of CNLs in chronic care and transitional management
- Preparing the field of nursing for growth in the over-65 population
Even with an advanced level of licensure, you must keep your registered nursing license valid through the Colorado Board of Nursing. This involves renewing your license by September 30 every other year. Upon graduating, you can apply for licensure as a Clinical Nurse Leader through the AACN. Each renewal cycle lasts five years, during which you must complete 50 continuing education hours.
The expectations of a Clinical Nurse Leader differ a bit from institution to institution, although the credential is overseen by the AACN. They note that this is primarily a nursing specialty focused on clinical care, rather than administration.
Clinical management is a core responsibility for nurse leaders; this involves creating care plans, evaluating care plans, and coordinating their execution. Furthermore, you may be expected to advance the field of nursing by contributing to nursing data and research.
They also play a role in creating care and practice standards in your institution.
Networking and staying involved in the local nursing community is extremely important. You may want to maintain membership in any nursing associations you belong to, while also looking into the benefits of joining a group like the Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders. This group aims to solidify the role of nurses in leadership by offering mentors to new nurse leaders, providing opportunities for lifelong learning, advocating for health policy change, and educating members on the health policy process.
As a leader, you can inspire nurses and improve the care received by patients. Find out more about your options by taking a look at our list of nurse leadership graduate programs in Colorado.