The national nursing shortage is widespread, attracting attention all over the country. However, the problem is more complex than some know. While many parts of the United States do need more registered nurses, the diversity of nursing needs mean that many places can actually benefit from a greater number of graduate-prepared nurses.
Wyoming, in particular, has been hit very hard by the nurse shortage (Wyoming News, 2015). Experts note that it isn’t as easy as increasing the number of nursing graduates, as that still leaves facilities with a shortage of experienced nurses who are willing to lead, and does nothing to address the contributing nursing faculty shortage.
Clearly, furthering your nursing education with a Master’s degree can pay off in your nursing career. Additionally, Wyoming is one of many states that is trying to expand its Medicaid program with federal funding (Casper Star-Tribune, 2015). Accepting federal money means taking more accountability for outcomes and procedures, which nurse leaders are trained to do.
Nurse leadership is a growing field that needs the experience and clinical decision making skills of nurses like you. Learn more by contacting Master’s in nurse leadership programs in Wyoming.
If you want to become a Clinical Nurse Leader and you’re already a registered nurse, you are well on your way to reaching your goal. The skills you’ve developed in clinical care and the clinical reasoning skills you possess are utilized heavily in CNL programs.
The goal of a Clinical Nurse Leader is to improve care by assessing quality assurance processes, patient satisfaction reports, fiscal reports, and nursing research. Some of the courses you may be required to take as a CNL student include:
- Evidence-Informed Decision Making
- Leadership Within Health Care Systems
- Theoretical Foundations for Nursing Leadership
- Becoming a Leader
- Science of Quality Improvement and Safety
- Advanced Leadership Strategies
Wyoming programs often have a significant amount of time dedicated to rural care and rural studies. In Wyoming, much of the population lives in remote or rural areas, which creates additional health care challenges for nurse leaders to address. Your advisors may assign you to a hospital or clinic near you. Even if you don’t live near a Wyoming college or university, you may be able to earn your CNL degree at a school that offers online courses.
To qualify for certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you must have a valid registered nursing license through the Wyoming State Board of Nursing. Once you have your initial license, you must renew it every two years.
Upon completing your Master’s degree, you are close to becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader. The final step is passing the CNL exam administered by the AACN. With valid certification, you can practice as a Clinical Nurse Leader for five years.
The role of the nurse leader is still taking hold in Wyoming, so you may find that nurse leadership positions vary across the state. In fact, the need for nurse leaders outstrips availability in many areas, leading to the creation of the Wyoming Nurse Leadership Institute. Getting involved in this event and others like it can help you learn what local nursing employers expect from leadership applicants.
The main benefit of CNL certification is the expanded scope of practice you enjoy. With advanced practice rights, you can lead care initiatives for your patients, suggest procedural and policy changes, and advocate for your patients’ best interests.
You may also spend a fair amount of time working with nursing studies and research. In fact, you may be responsible for collecting, compiling, and analyzing data from your facility. The insights you get from research should be used to encourage evidence-based practices throughout your facility.
Since you may oversee care and design protocols for your institution, you may be accountable for outcomes among your patients and department.
If you are passionate about the field of nursing and how it can improve life for Wyoming residents, you could have a huge impact as a nurse leader in this state. Start exploring your educational options by looking at our list of Master’s in nurse leadership programs in Wyoming.