Working in a hospital or other medical environment is more than practicing excellent medical care, but also a constant process of evaluating policies and practices that impact quality, safety, cost and many other aspects of medical management. The guidelines in place in these medical establshments are constantly changing due to advances in technology, resesarch, and other administrative concerns, including legal, political and ethical issues. Keeping abreast of these changes and recommending ways to integrate, eliminate or otherwise utilize new information generally falls upon the hospital's administration staff, but it is the medical care providers, such as the Clinical Nurse Leader, that take this information and best apply it to the needs of the patients and their families or loved ones. Clinical Nurse Leaders are responsible for establishing and providing the best patient care, and medical outcomes, possible.
The Clinical Nurse Leader position is the newest role in nursing Presented by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). While CNLs are relatively new in the world of nursing, the services they provide are already seeing results. These results are so outstanding, that the VA has committed to employing three CNLs at each VA facility, a trend that other medical establishments are taking note of. What makes these master's-level nurses so special is their focus on patient outcomes and how to best provide the care and treatments needed, from a preventative medicine standpoint as well as urgent care or other vital medical practices. In a sense, CNLs are efficiency experts when it comes to reducing costs related to outdated patient care.
The educational requirement for a CNL is at the masters level and includes advanced practice courses in clinical assessment, pathophysiology and pharmacology. These nurses not only have attained a position as an RN, but also have met or exceeded the requirements for a Master of Science in Nursing degree. With the growing number of concerns relating to a medical staff's ability to continue to maintain the most modern standards of care and medical treatments within the clinical setting, much of the responsibility of this training has fallen to the Nurse Managers, who are also responsible for managing the staff of a hospital or medical establishment. By creating and filling the role of the Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Managers are able to focus on their own speciality within the management of nursing and medical staff, while collaborating with the CNL in order to fully provide the best patient care possible.
Not only are Clinical Nurse Leaders helping hospitals and medical facilities run more efficiently and provide modern and outstanding medical care, but they are also helping to fill a gap in the chain of nurse education that is contributing greatly to the nursing shortage. By employing a Clinical Nurse Leader, the staff of a clinic or other facility not only gains the benefit of a medically-oriented administrator, but also a leader who can interpret and implement the latest medical research and information for a patient's best benefit.