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How to Become a Clinical Nurse Leader

A clinical nurse leader is a newly emerged position within the health care industry. The responsibilities of a clinical nurse leader are oversight in the integration of specific kinds of patients needing a particular type of care and actively participating in these patients’ care. They also bring in newer medical technology and practices in order to provide their patients with the most innovative and excellent care possible. A clinical nurse leader collects information, evaluates patients and assesses the risks involved with a decision and has the authority to pursue a course of action in caring for and providing treatment to a patient.

A clinical nurse leader must have advanced knowledge and extended education in general medicine rather than hours of experience in just one primary discipline like a nurse specialist.

What does it take to become a Clinical Nurse Leader?

A clinical nurse leader is a registered nurse with a four-year bachelor degree in nursing. They must also have an advanced degree in Nursing because it is their responsibility to provide a higher level of care than a registered nurse.

The following are helpful requirements:

•Take advanced courses in pathophysiology.
•Clinical assessments and pharmacology.
•Take the clinical nurse leader certification exam.
•Possess strong leadership and management skills.
•Be willing and able to learn techniques, procedures and technologies as they become available.

Since this position of clinical nurse leader is relatively new, it may be difficult to find a program for this kind of education.

How much does a Clinical Nurse Leader Make?

The need for this kind of position has allowed the compensation to be sufficient for the level of learning and care required. As a clinical nurse leader, one needs to be highly trained and expected to give a higher level of care without the cost of an attending physician. They can expect to earn anywhere from $55,000 to $60,000 every year. As this particular role in health care becomes more familiar, it is expected that the salary will rise.

How do I start the process of becoming a clinical nurse leader?

Get an education

As always, with any specialized pursuit, you must research programs that teach what you wish to learn. Find a nationally accredited Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program and take your required courses. When it is time to choose a specification of where you want to end up, research the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination and prepare yourself to take it. Check with the Board of Nursing where you are located (or intend to practice) for any state requirements you need to know.

Embrace your formal training

Learn as much as you can. Stuff your head full and ask questions. Interact with others in your study groups and participate as much as possible in class projects and hands-on activities. Seek guidance from your instructors, if you are struggling with clinical procedures or general health care concepts. Take your education outside the classroom and pursue nursing internships. Find yourself a nurse mentor and soak up the valuable nuggets and clinical skills being demonstrated around you.

Accept criticism

Constructive feedback and comments about your performance can only help make you better at what you do. Listening to other nurses, instructors, mentors and advisers will show an openness and motivation to succeed. It will greatly enhance your training and future reputation.

Study independently

Classroom study is wonderful and necessary. But, seeking out other sources and doing some extra research and finding more to read about your intended profession will only open your mind that much further. Look for resources that will improve your knowledge about the clinical nurse’s role: professional journals, academic texts, articles, books. Anything related to health care topics.

Seek associations

A professional association located in your area will expand your network with other professionals. Finding others in your chosen field and interacting with them will expand your knowledge base and help you learn. Informal settings can often be an asset and will take your book learning and put it into applied situations.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association
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