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Some Additional Information about Clinical Nurse Leaders
by Pam Chwedyk Minority Nurse Writer
In Minority Nurse's Summer 2009 feature article "Something Old, Something New," which explored why nurses of color should consider pursuing careers as clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and clinical nurse leaders (CNLs), we noted that an attractive feature of the relatively new CNL role is that "it provides nurses with a career advancement opportunity that lets them remain at the point of care as opposed to going into administration and management." We then quoted clinical nurse leader Anjanetta Davis, MSN, RN, a clinical educator at Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, Ala., as saying: "I noticed that [many] master's prepared nurses move away from the bedside. Being able to still take care of patients and also affect [improvements in] patient care and outcomes is what drew me to the [CNL] role."
After the story was published, Ms. Davis wrote to us to provide some helpful additional information about the unique role CNLs play in the overall patient care picture.
"As I read through the article and have had a chance to reflect on its contents, I wanted to [clarify] the quote," she says. "My statements that ‘many master's prepared nurses move away from the bedside' and that we CNLs are ‘able to still take care of patients' [were not meant to imply] that we are actually taking patient assignments and are a part of [nurse] staffing, which the CNL is not. However, the CNL is at the bedside (on the unit as a resource for the staff and patients). The CNL utilizes lateral integration of care, which means he/ she works with the nursing staff, physicians and other ancillary departments to ensure efficient and effective patient care—which does improve patient care and outcomes."