What does it mean to be a good health care leader? You’ve likely developed your own ideas in this area while working as a registered nurse. Perhaps you’ve lamented the state of leadership in your own facility and thought about how you could guide nurses to higher standards of care.
Without a doubt, the role of the Clinical Nurse Leader is extremely important in Kentucky. With nursing homes implementing new hiring standards and screening procedures throughout the state, leaders must be able to train and guide new staff to thrive under their facility’s expectations (WFPL News, 2015).
Furthermore, health care policy has seen unprecedented change in recent years. Experts note that nurses need more education and training to understand these changes (Lexington Herald Leader, 2015). Becoming a nurse leader empowers you to train staff and ensure that they have the knowledge they need to understand the Affordable Care Act.
If you are ready to further explore the opportunities in nurse management, take a look at our list of nurse leadership Master’s degree programs in Kentucky to discover your options.
The experience and education you receive as a registered nurse creates a strong foundation for clinical nurse leadership study in Kentucky. Keep in mind that you must have a Bachelor’s degree before you begin graduate-level study.
If you already have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can jump right into graduate courses when you're accepted to a program. Associate’s degree nurses may qualify for RN to MSN programs, which include the coursework required for a BSN and MSN. Non-nursing Bachelor's degree holders may have to take core nursing courses and pass the NCLEX-RN prior to beginning graduate courses.
Although there are many different training options for aspiring nurse leaders, they tend to have fairly similar goals and learning outcomes. At quite a few programs, students must demonstrate the following competencies prior to graduation:
- Understand administrative processes in health care
- Function in mentorship role for nurses
- Comprehend and respond to complex health problems
- Utilize research and patient input to make strong clinical decisions
While it is clear that nursing leadership is an extremely diverse field, the curriculum at your school of choice should help you excel in each area of study. Throughout Kentucky, schools require courses like those listed here:
- Health Services Administration
- Ethics in Health Care
- Health Law
- Leadership and Human Resource Management in Nursing
- Health and Information Management in Nursing
- Cultural Competence in Nursing
- Health Communication
Obtaining a high-level nursing certification involves several licensing steps. Clinical Nurse Leader is a national certification, not a statewide certification. However, you still must maintain your registered nursing license through the Kentucky Board of Nursing. This involves completing 14 continuing education units every two years and renewing your license by October 31 in even-numbered years.
To become licensed as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you work with the AACN. This organization requires graduation from an approved Master's degree program, a passing score on the licensing exam, and completion of the application process. After securing your certification, renewal occurs every five years.
By the time you graduate and begin your career as a nurse leader, you should be extremely familiar with the Kentucky nursing community, its challenges, and the ways in which it can grow. The more time you spend in a nurse leadership role, the more you may develop your own goals for your institution and the nursing industry in general.
Clinical work, nurse management, administrative work, and research are all aspects of nurse leadership positions. The amount of time you dedicate to each responsibility depends on the needs of your organization and what your goals are.
It is important to note that the AACN designed the Clinical Nurse Leader role to primarily serve in a clinical capacity. By working and staying active in a clinical setting, you can demonstrate the importance of education and evidence-based care to other nurses.
Understanding your scope of practice may take some time. Joining a group like the Kentucky Organization of Nurse Leaders can help you connect with other nurse leaders and grow from their experience.
A career in nurse leadership does not just benefit you—it contributes to higher standards across the nursing industry. Learn more by getting in touch with Master's in nurse leadership programs in Kentucky.