The development of the Clinical Nurse leader role began in 2003-2004 as response to quality and safety reports made by the IOM. A Advanced master’s level educated, specialized nurse with competencies in health system clinical leadership. Provides direct clinical leadership at the point of care to insure safe, evidenced-based care targeted towards high quality patient outcomes. The educational requirements of a CNL is a existing Master of Science. Those who are RN nurses can find pathways in forms of ADN to MSN and BSN to MSN. Non-nurses who have a masters can enter nursing at a advanced level after completing a transition-to-professional-practice period (Reid & Dennison 2011)
A master’s prepared nurse may sit for an exam to obtain the Clinical Nurse Leader designation the graduate level nurse must graduate from a accredited CNL education program, pass the CNL examination, possess a current, active, and have a unrestricted RN license (Commission on Nurse Certification 2017).
This prepares the CNL to practice across a continuum of care in any healthcare settings. The CNL serves as a resource for nursing teams with a high level of clinical competence and knowledge of point of care, evidence-based practice, latest innovations in care delivery how to implement all in a cost effective highly productive environment. The CNL also evaluates patient outcomes, risks and builds report with inter-professional healthcare teams to improve patient outcomes and the nursing process (Commission on Nurse Certification 2017).
In acute care or community healthcare the CNL works as a bond between direct care teams, the patient, and other healthcare professionals. The CNL is necessary to increase nursing knowledge base and education, provide cost effective quality care and move the nursing profession to a place of equality with other providers.
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