Nationally, the health care industry is facing nursing shortages, and an increase in the complexity of managing patient care. Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs) are growing in demand, as their technical expertise, organizational skills, communication skills, and problem-solving techniques help to keep hospitals and clinics operating efficiently while providing excellent patient-centered care. Since 2003, when this specialization was created, CNLs have been at the forefront of reducing waste and overhead expenses, providing higher quality of care, and identifying and fixing the problems within the industry.
In just the last decade since CNLs have been leading the charge for efficiency, quality and patient care, there are three times fewer cases of VAP (ventilator associated pneumonia), and pressure ulcers are down from 12.5% to 4.2%. While the original goal of the CNL specialty was to combat the nearly $30 billion per year in losses from medical errors, today the role of CNLs continues to expand. This is not an administrative position; CNLs are active in patient care, and because of that are finally being recognized and appreciated for their ability to develop strategies, analyze systems, and to effectively communicate and collaborate with members of the health care team.
CNLs routinely work with RNs, physicians, dietitians, case managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, radiology technicians, nurse educators, infection control and other departments to improve patient care and safety. Through their dedication, on-site falls are down, catheter infections are down, blood contamination rates are down, and staff communication is up. CNLs remove the fragmentation of communication and care between the patient, and their health care team. Think of CNLs as being the holistic voice for patient-centered care; they are advocates for patients, and health care team members alike.
If you have ever thought…”There is a solution here…why hasn’t anyone implemented it yet?” this is the advanced nursing specialty for you. A MSN, along with a certification by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) gets you on the path to make real changes, from your perspective to directly impact the health and wellness of your patients. Through the advanced nursing degree programs, nurses are trained to implement evidence-based best practices, evaluate risk to patient safety and health, analyze health care outcomes, and design and deliver health-focused education to communities and staff members.
For individuals that are currently working full-time in the nursing profession, there are online programs that allow for successful balance of education, personal commitments, and ongoing professional development. Online programs are ideal for individuals that want to continue their nursing career, while upgrading their skills and knowledge.
Do you want to be more engaged with the policy, procedures, and planning associated with excellent patient care? If so, consider becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader. Through your dedication and perseverance, you will impact the industry through the design and implementation of new strategies while reducing waste and costs. As a CNL you will help to shepherd patients through their care, safely getting to their destination of good health, much like the air traffic controllers that manage our skies. CNLs are part health care expert, part advocate, part collaborator, and part strategist, making each and every day a new adventure and challenge.
Source: University of San Francisco Online at http://onlinemsn.usfca.edu/news-resources/infographics/the-air-traffic-controllers-of-patient-care/