With an MSN degree with a specialization in clinical nurse leadership, you will be equipped to lead the nursing profession into the next generation. This advanced degree prepares you to take roles as advanced generalists that deliver care at the clinical level. The clinical nurse leader degree was developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in 2004 to address a deficiency in health care delivery. The clinical nurse leader is an integral member of the health care team that integrates and assists direct care providers down to the point of care level.
Requirements for Earning an MSN – Clinical Nurse Leader Degree
Many clinical nurse leadership programs require 43 credit hours to complete. The programs can usually be completed with full-time study in four semesters or part-time study in about seven semesters. You can even complete coursework for your degree online from schools like Kaplan, American Sentinel, Grand Canyon, or the University of Cincinnati. Prerequisites include a BSN or a bachelor’s degree in another field. Registered nurses with two years of full-time nursing experience and either an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing could also be eligible. Other requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores, and licensure as a registered nurse. The application may also require a resume, letters of recommendation, and an interview. Courses include:
- lifespan health assessment
- policy and ethics
- quality management in health care
- health care informatics
- population-based clinical nursing
- case management
- fiscal management in nursing administration
Average Salary and Career Data for Clinical Nurse Leaders
Job opportunities are expected to rise faster than the national average job growth rate, as hospitals and clinics alike are beginning to demand nurses to step into a supervisory role at the clinical level. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses with only an associate’s degree earned a median annual salary of $64,690 in 2010, and medical and health services managers earned an average of $96,030 per year in 2011. Nurses with advanced degrees and clinical nurse leaders can expect to earn salaries within these ranges, depending on experience and what type of medical facility they work for.
Job Duties for a Clinical Nurse Leader
As a nurse leader, you will be responsible for coordinating the care of the patient at the patient level. That is, you will use your skills, experience, and leadership education to ensure that the medical team is working together seamlessly for the good of the patient. You will oversee a team of nurses to ensure that they are delivering the best possible care. Graduates could work in oncology, cardiac, or mental health. Others might take leadership roles within the healthcare system, and manage the dissemination of informatics and electronic medical record systems. And some might seek out healthcare management positions, as a chief operating officer or chief executive officer of a healthcare organization, be it large or small.