Since the inception of CNL’s, documentation shows patients have shorter hospital stays, reduced readmission rates, and improved quality of care. Infection rates and falls decreased. Patient satisfaction increased, and nurse turnover rate decreased (HealthLeaders, 2009). Clinical Nurse Leaders had such a positive impact on patient care by applying evidence-based practices. This includes but is not limited to planning, implementing and evaluating patient care. Working across the different disciplinaries, coordinating, delegating and supervising patient care has benefitted patients and hospitals alike (Vadurro, 2018).
This leadership position works directly with the patients, so it is important the CNL enjoys direct patient care, as well as mentoring fellow nurses. The CNL should have qualities such as strong problem-solving skills and critical thinking (RegisteredNursing.org, 2018).
Formal education requires the RN to BSN, passing the N-Clex, and continuing to a Master of Science degree. The advanced courses include pathophysiology, clinical assessment and pharmacology. After successful completion of those requirements, an RN is able to obtain the CNL Certification from the Commission on Nurse Certification (RegisteredNursing.org, 2018).
Clinical nurse leader influences the direct patient care in the hospital settings. For example they give patient education including individuals, families and other care givers. They will be part of the ongoing assessment and modification if necessary of the plan of the care. They perform a comprehensive assessment of the client and family/caregiver upon initial contact. A Clinical Nurse Leader acts as a systems analyst or risk anticipator by anticipating patient safety risks, reviewing critical incidents, and evaluating client care delivery options. The CNL is also work with other care providers go for day-to-day information or issues related to the care of the specified patient cohort in the hospital settings. CNLs are also uniquely positioned to plan and coordinate care across entire patient populations or service lines, working with the multidisciplinary healthcare team across the care continuum, and helping organizations reduce length of stay and prevent readmissions. Clinical Nurse Leaders are also adept at using technologies and information systems to improve healthcare outcomes for their units and patients (Eira I. & Klich, H (n.d.). According to a study in University Hospital in Augusta, GA, piloted a CNL role in an acute care environment and documented significantly improved, patient-centered care through CNL assessment and advocacy. These CNLs communicated carefully with patients to determine their needs other than those specific to the current medical diagnosis. In each case the CNL’s ability to assess the patient’s unique needs and advocate with the healthcare team led to significant realignment of the treatment plan with the patient’s needs and preferences (Reid, & Dennison 2011).