Patient care comes in different levels of complexity and requires varying levels of expertise. As the number of patients in Connecticut continues to grow and the country as a whole struggles to provide enough practitioners to meet care needs, it makes sense to allocate care to those who can free up time for more advanced specialists.
The role of the Clinical Nurse Leader is a specialized credential that empowers nurses to create care plans, oversee the work of registered nurses, and become a contributing member of a health care leadership team.
You may have been led to the field of clinical nurse leadership because you have started to jump into a leadership role when it presents itself. Natural management abilities may manifest in taking control of life-or-death nursing situations and acting as a mentor to new nurses.
The Organization of Nurse Leaders in Connecticut notes that graduate-level nurse leaders can improve this industry in many ways. Their goals include improving the state of care and policy in Connecticut, connecting with patients and staff in new ways, understanding the role of social media in health care, and engaging with patients to make them active participants in their care (Organization of Nurse Leaders, 2015).
If you can see yourself as an effective, trusted leader in nursing, take the first step now by requesting information from graduate programs in nurse leadership in Connecticut.
Program length and requirements differ from school to school, but some themes are consistent across Connecticut schools. On average, you'll need to complete 37 credits to earn your CNL degree. As a full-time student, you may be able to meet this requirement in just two years.
You meet your credit requirements and address your learning goals by taking courses like:
- Nursing Science and Patterns of Knowing in Advanced Nursing Practice
- Advanced Pharmacodynamics
- Quality and Microsystems
- Information Systems for the Scholarship of Application
- Nursing Research for Evidence-Based Practice
- Health Policy and Populations-Based Advocacy
The curricula for CNL programs are based on several core aspects. Some of these areas of concentration include advanced generalist care, interdisciplinary work, accountability in nursing, patient care outcomes, and different models of care delivery.
To legally work as a Clinical Nurse Leader, there are two licensing requirements you must follow. First, the Board of Examiners for Nursing mandates annual renewal of your registered nursing license. There are no continuing education requirements for your RN license.
Next, you can earn your CNL license from the AACN. This process involves passing a rigorous exam, paying a testing fee of $350 or $425, and renewing your license every five years. Each renewal period requires 50 hours of continuing education.
Being a nurse leader involves far more than simply telling other nurses what to do and filling a management role in nursing shifts. In fact, the AACN note that this practice role’s primary focus is not management or administration—it is clinical care. Leading other nursing professionals is an important part of helping your facility run smoothly at all times, but you shouldn't lose sight of your clinical care responsibilities.
Due to your high level of education, you may focus primarily on patient outcomes, particularly as they relate to the tasks and responsibilities of nurses. As you analyze research, evidence, and patient outcomes, you can then design standards and practices that are intended to improve patient outcomes. In this way, you are both a provider of care and a manager of care.
Although the AACN establishes the long-term goals and practice role of nurse leaders, this role looks slightly different from facility to facility. In one facility, you may have a bigger responsibility in staff management, discipline, and encouragement. In others, you may not oversee staff at all but spend all of your time in research and creation of care plans. You may wish to look at job listings for nurse leaders and care managers for various facilities to find out which job openings best fit your career goals and your nursing interests.
You may also spend a significant amount of time working with nursing groups and organizations in Connecticut. This allows you to establish yourself as a local leader and address issues that affect working nurses.
The field of nurse leadership is possibly one of the most crucial in the future growth of the nursing industry. Find out how you can contribute by checking out Master's in nurse leadership programs in Connecticut below.