Regardless of what part of Missouri you work in, you may have noticed signs of a growing nursing shortage in this state. Longer shifts, less assistance on the floor, and an increased amount of inexperienced nurses are just some of the signs that the demand for nurses is growing more quickly than the amount of nurses in Missouri (Columbia Missourian, 2015).
Experts note that the shortage is caused by a variety of reasons, and so the solutions must come from many different sources. An increased nurse leadership presence is one solution that could make a huge difference, since nurse leaders can be a source of support for new nurses, improve the training process, and reduce burnout among nursing staff.
In fact, there are many ways that you can improve the nursing industry by becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader.
If you have been on the lookout for a way to advance your career, reach out to nursing leadership graduate programs in Missouri to learn more.
The first step to becoming a nurse leader is making sure that you meet the qualifications for your chosen program. Most schools require a Bachelor's degree in nursing. Some programs accept applicants with non-nursing Bachelor's degrees, but they may require you to complete a set of nursing courses prior to your program. RN to MSN programs are transitional plans of study that are designed for Associate's-level nurses.
You may find that some schools require a specific amount of nursing experience. Typically, schools with experience requirements look for at least one year of full-time nursing work. The more experience you have, the more you may understand diverse patient needs, the role of leadership in nursing, and the overall goals of the health care industry.
Curriculum requirements are unique at each school. The courses listed below are commonly required at Missouri schools:
- Evidence-Based Nursing Practice
- Public Health and Sociocultural Issues
- Nursing and Health Policy
- Organizations and Human Resource Management in Nursing
- Research Basis for Advanced Nursing
- Theoretical Basis for Advanced Nursing
When you evaluate different programs, spend some time looking at each school's competencies, learning goals, and learning outcomes. The role of Clinical Nurse Leader is focused mainly on clinical care, so you may want to select a program that emphasizes the importance of hands-on clinical work. You may find program competencies that address leadership in different health care environments, problem-solving skills and clinical environments, diverse health care needs in different populations, and the role of nursing research.
Throughout your career, you may work primarily or exclusively in clinical settings. This indicates that you must maintain your registered nursing license at all times. The Missouri Board of Nursing requires all license renewal applications to be submitted by April 30 in odd numbered years.
Seeking certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader may qualify you for additional opportunities or training programs. According to the AACN, you must pass a comprehensive exam and background check before becoming certified. To keep your license, simply complete 50 continuing education units every five years and renew your license every five years.
By the time you graduate with a Master's degree in nurse leadership, you should be completely confident in your ability to tackle any management or leadership responsibilities. Since you have already worked as a registered nurse, you should be an integrated part of the Missouri nursing community. However, you can prepare for the next stage of your career by joining the Missouri Organization of Nurse Leaders. You can shorten the learning curve of your new role by learning from experienced nurse executives, staying current on nursing legislation, and attending relevant events in your area. Making this extra effort can help you transition smoothly into a management role.
At various stages of your career, you may be responsible for different tasks that fall into your scope of practice. In the AACN’s definition of Clinical Nurse Leader, the importance of thinking critically about patient care is heavily emphasized. When working with patients, you must be able to anticipate and minimize risks, be accountable for any outcomes that occur on your watch, collect and store data on patient care and outcomes, and follow nursing research.
A career in nurse leadership can help you find new fulfillment as a nurse. Take the first step and start comparing graduate nursing leadership programs in Missouri.