One of the best parts of being a nurse is the fact that it gives you a chance to make a difference in people's lives every single day. In Virginia, a state where health care can be extremely difficult to come by in rural areas, this is especially true.
In certain parts of Virginia, it is not uncommon for babies to be born addicted to heroin (NBC Washington, 2015). This can be an extremely difficult situation for everyone involved, but nurses with specialized training and lots of experience can minimize a baby's discomfort and help them get through withdrawals safely.
As a nurse, you can also expand your career options and your scope of practice by furthering your education. In Virginia, a nursing professor was recently appointed to the AACN Faculty Think Tank, which focuses on the importance of leadership and research in nursing (The Cavalier Daily, 2015).
Studying nurse leadership can open many doors for you. Learn more about becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader and request information from graduate nurse leadership programs in Virginia.
You have to meet very specific admissions requirements to get accepted to a nurse leadership program in Virginia. First, you need a valid nursing license and a Bachelor's degree in nursing. If you have a Bachelor's degree in a different field, look into accelerated graduate nursing programs. If you have an Associate's degree in nursing, you may complete your education with an RN to MSN degree.
You may also have to meet minimum experience requirements. Many schools only accept applicants with one or more years of nursing experience.
To earn a Master's degree in nurse leadership, you need to earn between 30 and 40 credits in courses like those listed here:
- Nursing Leadership in Health Care
- Clinical Practice and Decision Making
- Care Environment Management
- Epidemiology and World Health
- Nursing Ethics
- Theory and Evidence-Based Practice
- CNL in the Health Care System
- Health Policy on a Global Scale
In your courses, you may learn about the different settings that nurse leaders work in, including clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and health care agencies.
Another goal in a CNL program is understanding the complex health care organizations that make up the American health care system. By learning how to navigate the health care industry, you can ensure that your patients get the care they deserve.
You should also be very experienced in quality improvement by the time you finish your Master's degree, since constant improvement is a tenet of nurse leadership.
Working in a clinical role requires you to keep your nursing license active through the Virginia Board of Nursing. Renewal occurs every two years.
Once you have met these educational requirements, you can apply for CNL certification through the AACN. You are awarded your certification after passing a comprehensive written exam.
One of the main benefits of becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader is the fact that this is a relatively new certification in nursing, so you have a chance to establish yourself as a leader in this particular specialty. A growing body of research supports the use of Clinical Nurse Leaders in different settings, so you may discover that an increasing number of Virginia facilities can benefit from your services.
It is crucial to maintain your ties in the nursing community. You may want to stay active in local nursing associations and organizations. In addition, look into joining a group like the Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders. Attending events and connecting with other nurse leaders can assist you in learning about the nuances of this position.
Although you may keep many of the same clinical responsibilities that you had as a registered nurse, you may discover that you think about nursing situations and problems in different ways. For example, you may look for trends among your patients and follow up on these trends by exploring nursing studies and research. Rather than taking directions from other practitioners, you may be making care decisions and directing the work of other nurses.
The demand for nurse leaders may continue to grow as the nursing industry of Virginia keeps up with changes in health care. Find out how you can become part of it by contacting Master's in nurse leadership programs in Virginia.