Clinical Nurse Leader, what is it exactly? - page 2

by soxy 22,938 Views | 22 Comments

Hi everyone, Can anyone tell me what exactly a Clinical Nurse Leader does? I am working on getting into nursing but am completely stumped on what to do as I get closer to finishing prereqs. I hold a non-nursing B.S. and... Read More


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    I stated earlier that some CNLs aren't as fortunate as I am in their place of work. A lot of CNLs I have met at conferences have enormous pateint loads (around 60) and aren't really allowed to get to know their patients. They end up doing a lot of auditing and trying to fix issues, like Falls. They dont' get to actual direct patient care and be the horizontal leader that the role was designed for. My job description/role is very close to the white paper ideal. Many are not.
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    A title looking for a job. Every clinical nurse leader I know of is working as a staff RN equal in responsibility and pay to the ADN and BSN co-workers.
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    Quote from EricJRN
    Although the CNL role isn't something I run into in the area where I work, I can speak to a financial reason that a direct-entry MSN might not necessarily make the most sense for everyone.

    Think of your initial licensure program as the one that you get to pay for. It's pretty standard, at least in my area, for hospitals to offer tuition reimbursement to their nurses. Even with hospital belt-tightening in poor economic conditions, many nurses are able to have their graduate educations entirely paid for by their employers.

    For some, it makes sense to become a nurse in the most economic and efficient manner possible, to begin working and then to allow the hospital to pay for any further academic pursuits. This might also allow you to determine whether any additional educational investment would be worth it. (Not uncommonly, nurses decide to defer admission to grad programs to avoid a five-figure cut in pay when transitioning from experienced nurse to new APN.)

    I think the situation really depends on the cost and accessibility of each initial licensure program in your area. You might even decide that an ADN is the way to go. I'm an experienced ADN with a psych BA. I'm in the process of applying to an MSN program that will admit me without requiring any BSN coursework. Several of these programs exist.

    Just as you notice the common opinion here that nurses should have experience prior to leadership or advanced roles, there is sometimes a noticeable belief (on AN and beyond) among pre-nursing students with a previous BA/BS that the MSN is logically the only answer. It's easy to fall into that line of thinking without thoroughly checking out each option, but it sounds like you are doing a good job of looking at multiple routes of entry.

    Good luck to you!


    Can you forsee an advantage of a non-nursing BA student going into AcceleratedBSN-->Advanced practice MSN?
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    Quote from newmusic
    Can you forsee an advantage of a non-nursing BA student going into AcceleratedBSN-->Advanced practice MSN?
    *** I only see disadvantages of a non-nurse going directly into an advanced practice role without significant experience as an RN in an acute care environment.
    I am a big fan of the accelerated BSN programs. Graduates from such programs I have worked with bring a lot of life and work experience to nursing.
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    I realize this is an old thread but I had 2 BS (Math & Biology) and chose to go the ADN route (for economic reasons). I had 12 years critical care transport/prehospital experience prior to entering nursing school. All of these things were very helpful while going to ADN school full time while working full time.

    I never considered doing a direct entry MSN because of the input I received from nurse friends I trusted. I would have been hired as a "new grad" and at base pay regardless. Our practice ladder is set up such that I wouldn't have received any significant professional advantages over similarly experienced RNs until I advanced to the Clinical level IV, which also has an hours worked component, in addition to requiring an MSN.

    Just my $0.02.
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    I am in the process of going to scholl for my RN at this time. I have worked up from a CNA to CMT to LPN. There is a definite benefit from working your way up. The difference I have seen in all nurses that have never worked in the health field and started as a nurse, from one that has worked in some way with patients, is very noticable. There seems to be more genuine caring and understanding of the patients views and feelings from someone with even the barest experience. The same also seems true in leadership. If you have been the one being lead, you understand how to get more out of your team.
    vrnursestudent likes this.
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    As a CNL can you diagnose patients and prescribe medicine as an NP can?
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    Quote from bobobijoux
    As a CNL can you diagnose patients and prescribe medicine as an NP can?
    No. The CNL is not an advanced practice role.
    MBARNBSN likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from bobobijoux
    As a CNL can you diagnose patients and prescribe medicine as an NP can?
    *** Certainly not. Every clinical nurse leader I have ever met was a new grad nurse who didn't know anything more about patient care than any other new grad does. CNL is not an advanced practice roll. In fact in 18 years in nursing in 4 different states in a number of hospitals I have never met a clinical nurse leader doing any roll other than bedside staff RN getting the exact same pay as their fellow ADN, BSN and MSN prepared RNs.
    MBARNBSN likes this.
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    I graduated from a master's entry CNL program. I chose to get a master's because I:
    -already had my bachelor's
    -wanted a master's
    -it was a shorter program

    Hospitals want RNs who have their bachelor's or master's. (At least where I live) And this will obviously offend people but it's true. It's easier to get a job as a new grad with a master's or bachelor's than an ADN, unless you know someone or are really awesome.

    I passed the CNL exam and I'm proud to be a CNL! I am a floor nurse but I'm using my CNL degree and am working on a project on our unit with another CNL/floor nurse to improve morale by organizing our unit, improving the Omnicell, creating unit sweatshirts, organizing potlucks. I think part of it is my personality/passion for positive change and part of it is my CNL degree.

    Happy to hear you went for the Masters degree.
    VegetasGRL03RN likes this.


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