A clinical nurse leader is not your average nurse. They are highly educated and they undertake intensive training to serve patients in different healthcare settings.
These professionals are often found within management in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Although they may take on ordinary nursing roles from time to time, they tend to focus on highly specialized tasks.
Perhaps you’re a nurse who would like to climb the career ladder into management. Or maybe you’re thinking about a nursing career and wondering what avenues there are to grow in your profession. Becoming a clinical nurse leader is one of the most promising ways to rise to the top.
A MSN CNL is one of the best ways to secure a job as a senior management nurse. Completing an MSN CNL means that you will get a Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leader qualification. The course with Cleveland State University covers important topics such as evidence-based practice, information systems in healthcare, healthcare financing, and population intervention and assessment.
The course can be completed in under two years, and those who graduate are qualified to become clinical nurse leaders. They are equipped to influence healthcare delivery right from the top. You become an advocate for your patients, and you lead your institution in exploring and delivering the latest healthcare technologies and solutions.
It helps to understand the roles and responsibilities of a clinical nurse leader. It puts into context what you learn in your MSN CNL.
An overview of the roles of a clinical nurse leader
After you complete your course and get employed, your duties will include but will not be limited to the following.
Your master’s course will have prepared you for the leadership duties of a nurse leader. This means that you are a champion for your nurses. You are also an advocate for patients. You are their liaison with management.
As a leader, some of your duties will include:
- Managing the nursing staff – they must know their roles, adhere to protocols and deliver high-quality healthcare to patients at all times. You must be an agent of change, actively involved in implementing the latest in healthcare and finding solutions that help improve patient outcomes.
- Evaluate goals and make sure that they are met.
- You are in charge of making sure that resources, however limited, are put to the best use possible.
- You will actively engage in research to measure and improve healthcare outcomes for patients.
This is the primary role of any nurse, and as a clinical nurse leader, it will be one of your core responsibilities. You will not make ward rounds or interact directly with patients, but you will ensure that the nurses you supervise provide the best quality of care.
It also falls within your purview to make sure that the quality of care improves with time.
Your role is concerned with new technologies and treatment methodologies – you will research what is new within your industry and the best ways to implement it.
Patient-centered care calls for teamwork in every respect. Every member of the team must work together for the best outcomes for patients.
This requires sharing information, and nurse leaders are at the forefront of ensuring that every team member is apprised of a patient’s condition and wishes.
Teamwork is about harmony, and the clinical nurse leader should be good at resolving conflict and ensuring that treatment teams work as one.
The nurse leader must know how to encourage others, correct mistakes when they spot them, and chastise colleagues professionally.
A nurse leader is expected to be an excellent communicator. They are patient listeners, are culturally sensitive, and also know how to communicate so that others listen.
The master’s part of your training imparts management skills. You will learn how to lead others, delegate, create plans and budgets, and make sure that your department runs smoothly.
An important element of management for nurses is understanding funding. Where does the money come from to fund hospital activities? And what can you do to make sure that you get enough of it to deliver high-quality patient care?
You also learn about resource distribution and efficiency. One of your jobs will be to make sure that patients are well served even when the institution is running short of resources.
Your management role will put you in the room with other senior managers. You should be confident when you talk to them, getting them to listen and take you seriously. Remember, within management ranks, you represent both patients and nurses.
Training and education
It is the responsibility of the nurse leader to ensure that all nurses are properly trained and ready for their roles.
Training is not a one-off event. It is continuous. As healthcare delivery evolves and new technologies emerge, nurses must keep up to speed.
As a nurse leader, you will be in charge of creating training programs, recruiting trainers, taking care of logistics, and testing nurses on new skills acquired.
Patient care and patient education
We have already mentioned that a nurse leader doesn’t have as much contact with patients as an ordinary nurse, but it is their role to make sure that patient care is delivered according to the highest standards.
They collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals to create effective care plans and make sure that they are properly implemented.
The nurse leader also educates patients about healthcare. They may talk to them about their lifestyle, jobs, family situation, how to avoid illness, and how best to stay healthy.
They also do public health education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, nurse leaders all over America were tasked with educating patients on how to stay safe and avoid infection.
Be a role model
This may not be explicitly stated in your job description when you are employed, but you must be a role model for those around you. Nurses and other employees should look up to you and they should be able to trust you.
Becoming a clinical nurse leader means that you join the higher echelons of healthcare management. An MSN CNL prepares you for the role. It imparts the necessary knowledge and skills to help you carry out your work. Remember, successful nurses are those who continually educate themselves. Don’t stop learning just because you become a clinical nurse leader.