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Clinical Nurse Leader Degrees in North Carolina

Whether you have worked at one facility or ten as a registered nurse, you have undoubtedly found that certain leaders are more effective than others. If a leader is out of touch with the realities of nursing, unable to properly direct care, or is inaccessible to staff members, it's likely that staff morale will suffer.

If you find yourself encouraging new nurses, taking over when situations get hectic, and looking at patient problems in alternative ways, you may have exactly what it takes to become an efficient nurse leader in North Carolina.

This is an extremely important time for nurse leadership in this state. Nursing care providers are pushing for greater autonomy and more practice rights throughout North Carolina, and the consensus in the nursing community is that this goal may become reality during the next legislative session (Biz Journals, 2015). With nursing roles changing, leaders who can oversee care and work independently are essential.

Are you ready to explore your leadership potential and take your nursing career to the next level? Learn more by checking out our list of Master's in nurse leadership programs in North Carolina below.

How Can I Become a Clinical Nurse Leader in North Carolina?

To become a Clinical Nurse Leader, you must follow a specific certification process, as this is a protected nursing title. First, you must choose a Master's program that is certified by the AACN. These programs require approximately 35 credits in North Carolina. You may need to complete multiple clinical rotations, depending on which school you decide to attend. Most North Carolina programs involve the completion of a professional paper or thesis.

As you work toward graduation, get ready for courses like Advanced Assessment for Nurse Leaders, Interpreting Research Reports, Improving Outcomes, Nursing Leadership, Pharmacotherapeutics, and Pathophysiology. These classes prepare you for nurse leadership in many different ways.

Your main focus should be clinical practice, taking responsibility for patient care, creating clinical plans, and taking a variety of factors into mind when looking at patients’ cases. However, you may also delve into management theory, nursing research, and health policy. All schools that prepare you for Clinical Nurse Leadership certification must follow the curriculum guidelines of this title.

Throughout this time, it is crucial to keep your nursing license active through the North Carolina Board of Nursing. Renewal applications are due every two years by the last day of your birth month. During each renewal cycle, you must complete an approved learning plan.

When you graduate with a Master’s degree, you can register to take the CNL licensing exam through the AACN. When you earn the title of Clinical Nurse Leader, you have to renew it every five years to maintain it.

What Does a Clinical Nurse Leader Do?

Your primary responsibility as a Clinical Nurse Leader is to ensure that your patients receive the best care they possibly can. Health care changes on a near-constant basis, so this aspect of your career requires you to stay up-to-date on nursing policy and recommended procedures. With your extensive knowledge of evidence-based practice, you should be ready to change and create care plans based on the latest relevant research.

In addition, patient communication is very important. You may be one of your patients’ primary care providers, which means that you want them to feel educated and informed in regard to your decisions. This often means working with other care providers to integrate care across specialties.

According to the AACN, other aspects of CNL work include process evaluation, patient cohort research, team leadership, information management, and patient advocacy.
Clearly, working in nurse leadership means juggling many priorities and ensuring that nothing is forgotten. Learning how to function in this role may require some time, but joining a group like the North Carolina Organization for Nurse Leaders can shorten your learning curve and give you the chance to bounce ideas and challenges off of experienced nurse leaders.

If you are ready to find a new level of fulfillment in your career and improve the lives of patients all over North Carolina, it is time to make the move to nurse leadership.

Start comparing options by contacting graduate nurse leadership programs in North Carolina.

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