Massachusetts, like several other New England states, is known for the wealth of medical knowledge and research that comes out of its institutions and medical facilities. Because of this, and to the benefit of Massachusetts patients, providers are held to extremely high standards.
Health care professionals have more data available to them than they ever have before, allowing leaders to make changes to policies and standards that influence patient care.
After working in the nursing industry for some time, perhaps you've started to think of your role as a potential leader within the field. Clinical Nurse Leaders influence patient care and create better work environments for the nurses who work with them. In Massachusetts, nurses have reported an above-average amount of on-the-job injuries (WWLP, 2015). Nurse leaders respond to injury reports and apparent trends by educating nurses and creating policies that maximize their safety.
Whether you are already imagining yourself taking charge in emergency situations and directing other nurses or you are still looking for the next step in your career, education can help you grow in your nursing career.
Check out your options by contacting clinical nurse leader graduate programs in Massachusetts.
Before you can take on a nurse leadership role and lead future generations of Massachusetts nurses, you must earn a Master's degree in nursing leadership from an accredited school. As a nurse leader, you are accountable for everything that happens on your watch—this responsibility demands a higher level of education.
The majority of programs in Massachusetts include 37 to 39 credits. At some schools, this degree is entirely comprised of traditional lecture courses. At others, you must complete clinical rotations or an internship to graduate. You do need a valid nursing license and Bachelor’s degree prior to beginning your graduate courses.
If you have an Associate’s degree, this means that you typically have to either complete your BSN before applying or apply for RN to MSN programs.
The courses you take as a nurse leadership student should delve into the myriad tasks and areas of knowledge that are expected of nurse leaders. Explore your curriculum to find courses like:
- Research Methodology in Nursing
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Informatics for Nursing Practice
- Leadership in Public Health Systems
- Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning
Every course you take builds on one or more areas of competency as set forth by your program. Instructors may evaluate your ability to implement your leadership skills in any clinical setting, assume accountability in terms of patient care and health care costs, and integrate knowledge from various reliable sources.
At all times, you must have a valid Massachusetts registered nursing license. Through the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing, you can renew your license by your birthday in every even-numbered year.
When you graduate, you may be ready to take the Clinical Nurse Leadership exam. The AACN oversees the regulation of the specialty and the licensing of graduates. If you become a CNL, remember to apply for recertification every five years.
While there is no doubt that nurse leadership is extremely important in Massachusetts, the way that nurse leaders contribute to their facilities may differ quite a bit from one institution to the next. As you get close to graduating and looking for your next career opportunity, you may wish to check out nurse management job listings near you to find out what today's health care facilities are looking for and what skills they expect you to bring to the table.
When you start thinking about what you'll be doing as a nurse leader, the AACN is an excellent place to start. Their clinical competencies and scope of practice outline what CNLs should expect to do. They note that you should be ready to serve as a leader to other nurses, patients, families, and others in your nursing community. Advocacy is an essential part of this role—the AACN expects you to use your knowledge of health policy and nursing evidence to advocate for the procedures and care that best serve your patients.
Joining a group like the Organization of Nurse Leaders can help you discover job openings, strengthen your leadership skills, and gain access to exclusive training events.
The future of Massachusetts nursing is being decided right now by the policies and priorities of those in power.
Improve the future of nursing by reaching out to graduate nurse leadership programs in Massachusetts.