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Pennsylvania Clinical Nurse Leader Degrees

The future of the nursing industry is getting brighter and brighter, thanks to the recent changes affecting the health care industry. As hospitals and clinics are expected to provide care to more and more people, they are turning to nurses of all educational levels to fill the care gap.

With an advanced nursing degree in Pennsylvania, you can take on more clinical responsibilities and encourage nurses to maintain high care standards.

Magnet recognition is a significant award in the nursing industry (News Medical, 2015). Several Pennsylvania hospitals have recently sought and gained Magnet certification, showcasing the success of their nursing staff. Nurse leaders are an important part of improving care outcomes.

Pennsylvania has successfully decreased the rate of hospital-acquired conditions, a good measure of safety and preventive care in hospitals (YDR, 2015). This is due, in part, to the work of highly educated nursing leaders, working in a variety of leadership and direct care roles.

Are you ready to find out what it takes to become a leader in the field of nursing? Take the first step and request information from Master’s in nurse leadership programs in Pennsylvania.

How Can I Become a Clinical Nurse Leader in Pennsylvania?

The Clinical Nurse Leader is an advanced generalist nursing role. Since it requires a considerable amount of responsibility and independent work, it involves high-level study and a significant amount of nursing experience.

Prior to enrolling in a CNL program, you must have a Bachelor's degree in nursing. If you currently have an Associate's degree in nursing, you may be able to meet your CNL requirements by enrolling in an RN to MSN program. These programs typically require about 60 credits, compared to the 36 credits commonly included in a CNL program.

Throughout your training, you should explore the various roles that advanced nursing professionals play in clinical settings. Many colleges and universities address widespread health problems and nursing issues, the critical thinking skills needed to excel in leadership, the interpretation of nursing research, and successfully blending practice and theory.

Every course you take as a graduate nursing student should address one or more of these goals. Some of the courses commonly required in this type of degree program include Theory and Research in Nursing, Health Policy in Nursing, Nursing Administration and Leadership Role, Information Systems for Nurses in Health Care, and Nursing Organization & Leadership Theory.

You should be prepared for the clinical requirements of your program. The amount of clinical work included in your curriculum differs quite a bit from school to school. Generally speaking, it is best to get as much experience as possible, so you may want to compare clinical offerings at all of the programs you are considering.

Remember to keep your registered nursing license up to date through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. Depending on which licensure group you are assigned to, your license renewal will be due on April 30 or October 31 in odd-numbered or even-numbered years. To work as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you must also get certified by the AACN. You can earn your initial certification by passing a rigorous licensing exam.

What Does a Clinical Nurse Leader Do?

This is a fairly challenging and multifaceted role, so it's in your best interest to be prepared for a wide range of job duties and responsibilities. The CNL certification focuses more heavily on clinical work than administration, so financial and administrative work should only make up part of your workday.

The rest of the time, you may still be working with patients, collecting data, analyzing care plans, educating and supervising nurses, and ensuring that each patient has a care plan that suits their unique needs.

Strong communication skills are essential in nurse leadership. On any given day, you may communicate with patients, patients’ families, nurses whom you supervise, other care providers, and administrators.

A strong professional network is key to growing in any career. The Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders is a professional association that supports nurse leaders throughout the state. Make use of this group's resources, including networking events, training programs, legislative updates, and changes in the nursing industry.

If you thrive in high-stress situations and you see yourself as a leader, you may have the chance to bring your talents to the nursing community as a whole.

Start on the path to becoming a nurse leader by requesting information from Master's in nursing leadership programs in Pennsylvania.

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