As the role of the nurse evolves in modern health care, the need for additional nursing specialties has become abundantly clear. With a Master’s degree in nursing, you can address some of the main challenges and recurring issues in Alaskan health care.
One significant area of growth for Clinical Nurse Leaders in Alaska is the state's large American Indian population. Nurse leaders may study culturally appropriate nursing care and teach new nurses about health care needs in this area (Indian Country Today Media Network, 2015).
Alaska has a number of clinics and hospitals with a history of strong performance. For the third year in a row, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center has been recognized as a Top Performer by The Joint Commission (Frontiersman, 2015). The chief nursing officer at this medical center notes that their success comes from a focus on effective care and collaboration across specialties and departments.
If you would like to find out how you can use your passion for nursing to impact change throughout Alaska, learn more about nurse leadership graduate programs in Alaska below.
The duties and responsibilities of a nurse leader are extremely diverse, so your nursing education at the graduate degree level should reflect the multifaceted nature of this role. A graduate degree in nursing leadership should prepare you to work as a provider and manager of health care, a proponent of evidence-based practice, and a contributor to continued improvement in nursing procedures and policies.
On average, this in-depth program requires you to complete 42 credits. Depending on the school you attend, you may be able to complete some or all of your courses online. Clinical practice may be completed at a variety of local clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals.
Curriculum requirements vary from school to school. Some of the courses that are commonly required in this type of study include Care Coordination and Outcomes Management, Global Health and Diversity, Healthcare Quality and Improvement, Leadership in Clinical Microsystems and Processes, and Systems Leadership & Collaborative Practice. Each semester, you build on your knowledge of practical nursing procedures, your understanding of policy and management, and your ability to direct patient care.
Throughout your education and your entire career, you are legally required to maintain your registered nursing license through the Alaska Board of Nursing. This involves renewing your license by November 30 of every even-numbered year. During each two-year cycle, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education.
A valid registered nursing license is the first step to becoming certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which approves CNL programs across the country, also oversees the licensing process. Upon passing the licensure test, you get the certification you need to work as a Clinical Nurse Leader. You maintain this title by renewing every five years and completing 50 hours of continuing education during each renewal cycle.
Alaska often suffers from nursing shortages at all levels of education, so your nurse leadership role may allow you to serve in many different capacities. Nurse executives and clinical leaders are often hired at local hospitals and clinics, including Alaska Regional Hospital, Providence Health System, and Central Peninsula Hospital.
Your tasks may run the full gamut of what is expected of nurse executives, from addressing staffing needs and managing the work and attitudes of nurses to creating patient care plans and utilizing research to find ways to improve patient outcomes.
Due to the relatively young age of this nursing specialty, getting involved now may put you in a position of fostering the growth and education of aspiring nurse leaders. The American Organization of Nurse Executives hosts the Emerging Nurse Leader Institute in Anchorage. This event explores the roles of nurse leaders and prepares nurses at different educational levels to step into high-level roles.
Your efforts may also contribute to the evolving role of nurse leaders. The AACN notes that its goals include defining the scope of practice for CNLs, making graduate-level education more accessible to nurses at different levels of training, and increasing the hiring of the nurse managers throughout the United States.
One of the most exciting parts of working in the nursing field is the opportunity you have to shape the future of this field. Find out if you meet the qualifications of a nursing leadership program by requesting information from clinical nurse leadership programs in Alaska.