Whether you’ve worked as a nurse for one year or three decades, the way that a health care facility works is always amazing. When everything runs smoothly, massive amounts of work get done quickly and accurately. Throughout Iowa, hospitals and clinics have seen huge results from the use of Clinical Nurse Leaders. As Medicaid funding changes in various care settings, it is important for nurse leaders and managers to know how to properly staff their shifts and allocate funds (KIWA Radio, 2015).
Nurse leaders are even more important in light of the nursing shortage in Iowa (KWWL, 2015). Though facilities may minimize the shortage by recruiting new graduates, they still need experienced nurses to step up as leaders and take new nurses under their wings (KWWL, 2015).
You may be ready to take on a new role in your facility or explore new work environments entirely. No matter what you see in the future of your nursing career, you can learn more about becoming a nurse leader by contacting graduate nurse leadership programs in Iowa.
With the wide range of graduate nursing programs in Iowa, it is essential to choose a school that can help you reach your goals. For example, if you want to earn the national certification of Clinical Nurse Leader, you have to choose a nurse leadership program that is approved by the AACN.
Programs in Iowa tend to require between 33 and 39 credits. Many programs are designed for working nurses, so they allow you to complete some or all of your coursework online. Schools that have clinical requirements may require you to work with specific clinics or hospitals to earn your degree.
The courses you take should advance your skills in management, care management, nursing research, and policy. For this reason, you may find courses like those listed below in your CNL curriculum:
- Evaluating Evidence for Practice
- Leadership in the Microsystem
- Health Promotion and Assessment
- Health Systems, Finance, and Economics in Nursing
- Clinical Nurse Leader Seminar
While looking at a school's curriculum, don't forget to learn more about its vision, goals, and learning outcomes. Researching each program in this manner makes it much easier to select a program that is in line with your learning style and needs.
In your graduate nursing school’s learning outcomes, you may find goals like:
- Understand operation of microsystems in health care
- Function as a leader for nurses at different levels of education
- Qualify to take the CNL licensing exam
- Improve the field of nursing through research and ongoing practice
You may spend two or more years earning a Master's degree. Throughout this time, keep your nursing license valid through the Iowa Board of Nursing. Your license must be renewed every three years by the 16th day of your birth month. In each three-year cycle, 36 hours of continuing education are expected.
By meeting these requirements, you may be able to apply for certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader. The AACN administers a comprehensive nurse leadership exam. Once you have your license, you have to complete 50 hours of continuing education in every five-year renewal cycle.
The more you learn about what nurse leaders do, the more you can come to appreciate the challenges of this clinical role. Although your education may focus specifically on one area of nurse leadership, you should be ready to accept whatever duties in your scope of practice are assigned to you by those in charge of your facility.
These expectations may differ quite a bit between institutions. Becoming involved with the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders can help you figure out where you fit into the model of nursing care.
Overall, your aim as a CNL is to improve patient care and outcomes by utilizing evidence-based standards and procedures, prioritizing the education and training of nurses on your team, and staying up-to-date on nursing research.
Since this role is clinical in nature, you should anticipate spending quite a bit of time with specific patients throughout your career. Developing plans of care, revising plans, and reviewing records are all significant components of your CNL responsibilities.
As an experienced leader, you may put your knowledge to work in many different health settings. Take the first step to a higher degree now and contact Master's in nurse leadership programs in Iowa.