The nursing industry has gone through a massive amount of change in the last several years. There is a good reason—the demand for nurses trained in different specialties, types of care, and health care settings is growing very quickly.
In fact, the demand for nurses may have been one of your original motivations for getting into the field of nursing. Now, this industrywide growth may provide you with the chance to take your career even further.
In Utah, the nursing shortage that affects much of the country is going strong (KSL, 2015). Although schools are working hard to graduate more nurses, this means that many facilities will be staffed with new and inexperienced nurses in coming years. This means that more facilities may need nurse leaders who are up to the task of training and overseeing new nurses.
Not only is Utah short on nurses, it does not have enough doctors (Salt Lake Tribune, 2015). The growing gap in care may be improved significantly with the use of advanced nursing professionals, including nurse leaders.
If you are ready to bring your nursing experience and leadership to a Utah health care facility, find out how you can begin by contacting Master's in nurse leadership programs in Utah listed on our site.
In many ways, nurse leadership graduate programs are similar to other graduate nursing programs. They involve roughly two years of study and lead to the completion of about 36 credits. However, while some nursing graduate programs require clinical rotations, some nurse leadership programs can be completed entirely online and do not have any clinical requirements. This may allow you a bit more flexibility in your work schedule and other obligations.
The role of the nurse leader is quite diverse, which is reflected in a program's learning outcomes. The learning outcomes of your chosen program indicate what you must do to succeed in your training and prepare for the rigors of nurse leadership.
Common goals and competencies are listed below:
- Work independently with patients in a range of health care settings
- Use evidence-based protocols and procedures in your treatment decisions
- Analyze and interpret nursing research to understand its role in your practice
- Communicate efficiently with care providers of different backgrounds and educational levels
You may take many rigorous courses to succeed in these areas. Commonly required courses include Evidence-Based Practice, Advanced Pharmarcotherapeutics, Care Management Practicum, Care Management for Populations, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Quality Improvement in Health Care.
Your program may or may not require clinical work, but it may benefit your nursing career to get some hands-on leadership experience if possible.
To become certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you must first have your registered nursing license through the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. Renewal applications are due by January 31 in odd-numbered years. CNL certification is awarded by the AACN after you pass their written certification exam.
The expertise that you develop during a nurse leadership program may be applicable to a huge number of job titles and positions within health care. Depending upon the day, the patient load, and the needs of your facility, you may spend time in the following areas as a CNL: Working the floor; checking the work of nurses on your team; providing updates to families; developing care plans; reading and disseminating research; creating policies; or analyzing data.
Larger facilities may rely on you to focus specifically on clinical care, while smaller facilities may need you to complete administrative and management tasks to keep the institution running smoothly.
As a registered nurse, you have likely found that networking is a very important part of succeeding in this industry. It is even more essential when it comes to nurse leadership, since this certification is relatively new and many institutions are still learning about it.
Joining a group like the Utah Organization of Nurse Leaders may help you find employment opportunities, develop your management skills, and figure out how to succeed in an independent nursing role.
A career in nurse leadership can allow you to use your diverse nursing skillset to its full potential.
Compare your options by checking out our list of graduate nurse leadership programs in Utah, and requesting information from all of those that interest you.