Rhode Island Clinical Nurse Leader

Have you seen the role of nurses change in Rhode Island? Whether you have an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you have likely experienced plenty of different nursing roles in your career. One of the newest nursing roles is that of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), a position that combines clinical experience with staff management and evidence-based practice.

Across Rhode Island, the demand for highly trained nurses is increasing. In fact, several colleges and universities have received large grants to expand their MSN programs (Rhode Island Public Radio, 2015). This is intended to help Rhode Island meet the growing need for nurses at the graduate degree level.

If you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to take your nursing career one step further, this may be it.

Learn more by comparing Master’s in nurse leadership programs in Rhode Island below.

How Can I Become a Clinical Nurse Leader in Rhode Island?

With nursing becoming a bigger part of health care in New England, this is an excellent time to learn about becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader. This certification, which is overseen by the AACN, refers to a specific clinical role that utilizes advanced education and nursing experience to improve care outcomes and streamline care in various settings.

These goals are often highlighted by the learning outcomes of Rhode Island colleges and universities. You may find that schools in this area focus on students learning how to apply evidence to practice, effectively serve as leaders in different specialties, integrate research into practice, engage in interdisciplinary care, study population health needs, and uphold ethical practice standards. Since you must be ready to function in an advanced role by graduation, be ready for a program that is extremely academically rigorous.

Courses that may be required in a CNL Master’s degree program include:

  • Professional Role Development
  • Health Care Systems
  • Advanced Nursing Research
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Biostatistics in Nursing
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Differential Diagnosis in Nursing

You can typically complete a CNL program in about two years. You must learn an average of 33 credits to graduate. At some schools, this includes clinical work at a local hospital, nursing home, or clinic.

As this is a clinical practice role, a registered nursing license is required. The Nurse Registration and Nursing Education Board requires all new applications to be submitted by the last day of February every other year. You can then apply for certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader through the AACN.

Initial certification is earned through a rigorous three-hour exam. After that, you must complete 50 hours of continuing education every five years and renew your license at the end of every five-year cycle.

What Does a Clinical Nurse Leader Do?

Clinical Nurse Leaders fill a number of extremely important roles in Rhode Island's clinical care settings. As a nurse leader, you may be responsible for a specific shifts or a team of nurses. This part of your job involves following up on nurses’ work, making sure that they are using evidence-based practices, and evenly distributing the work load.

As part of your work, you may also be assigned to specific patients. CNLs are often expected to create high level, multidisciplinary plans of care for their patients. These plans should integrate the work of nurses, physicians, specialized care providers, and anyone else involved in a patient's medical care.

To create a plan that is well-suited to a patient, you must be up-to-date on the latest in nursing research and evidence, including recommendations from national nursing groups. Studying research and evidence may also show you ways that policies and procedures can be changed in your facility.

Since this is a relatively new role in the field of nursing, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what you should be doing as a nurse leader. You may find that you are creating your roles as you enter the field. Learning from others who have walked the same path is extremely helpful. Look into joining the Organization of Nurse Leaders, a New England association that benefits those in high-level nursing positions.

As a field, nursing is constantly changing and evolving to meet industry and population needs. Be ready for whatever changes come your way by furthering your education.

Graduate nurse leadership programs in Rhode Island can help you get started. Request information from the schools below to learn more about your options for becoming a CNL in Rhode Island.

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