Established only 11 years ago, the role of the clinical nurse leader is a relatively new one. At the time of introduction, it was the first new nursing role in almost 40 years.

As demand grew for highly skilled nursing professionals, CNL’s emerged with a main focus on improving quality and overall safety for those receiving care.

They work towards this goal by:

  • Identifying and fixing problems in the healthcare system

  • Managing client care and information technology

  • Designing and improving health promotion and risk reduction programs

  • Overseeing education and information

Clinical nurse leaders were the perfect combatants for the challenges that plagued the healthcare system. Before they arrived on the scene, it was estimated that over 29 billion dollars were lost each year due largely in part to preventable medical errors. An even more shocking one hundred thousand of these mistakes resulted in the deaths of patients.

Those interested in furthering their nursing career by becoming a CNL are required to earn their master’s or post-master’s degree from an accredited clinical nurse leader program. Afterwards, in order to become fully certified, graduates must successfully pass the CNL certification exam.

This illustration by University of San Francisco Onlineprovides a glimpse into the world of clinical nurse leaders–what it takes to get there and how they impact the nursing field for the better. With benefits that far outweigh than that of just a competitive salary, CNLS are using their high-profile leadership roles to help create the most effective health care delivery system today.

And that is certainly praiseworthy! 

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