Taking the next step in your nursing career

Going back to school can prepare you for the future of nursing.

To progress in your field, you must be willing to acquire more skills and challenge yourself to take on new tasks that set you apart from other health care professionals. By pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing at the University of San Francisco, you can obtain a Clinical Nurse Leader degree and prepare yourself for the future of nursing. If you feel like you’re at a standstill in your career, or you’re simply ready to take on a new challenge, pursuing a CNL role can be the first step. You’ll continue to provide quality patient care while specializing in policies and procedures, research development, analysis, and educating fellow staff members in the workplace.

Becoming CNL certified is the perfect opportunity for those looking to advance while remaining at the point of care instead of moving on to the administration and management levels, according to Anjanetta Davis, MSN, RN, clinical nurse leader and clinical educator at Springhill Medical Center in Alabama, in an interview in Minority Nurse.

“I noticed that [many] master’s-prepared nurses move away from the bedside,” she said. “Being able to still take care of patients and also affect [improvements in] patient care and outcomes is what drew me to the role.”

If you’re ready to take the next step as a nursing professional and you’re interested in learning more about the role as a clinical nurse leader, a CNL could be right for you.

Understanding the role of a CNL

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the role as a Clinical Nurse Leader was developed to give highly skilled clinicians the opportunity to showcase quality improvement strategies in outcomes-based practice. A CNL can provide direct patient care, but he or she generally leads and oversees integration of care as well. It is his or her job to ensure patients are receiving the best quality care based on the latest innovations and practices being used throughout the care delivery process while overseeing staff members. Essentially, the CNL works as one of the main points of communication and takes a leading role in planning and implementing care with other health care professionals. It’s important to understand, however, that a CNL is not considered a member of management or administration.

If you are looking to take on a management position that is focused away from the point of care, you might instead consider a nurse administrator, manager or educator role. In these positions, you’ll take on more responsibilities in regard to procedural and policy changes, managing the department budget and conducting health seminars.


Gaining new knowledge and skills as you obtain a clinical nurse leader degree can prepare you for the future of nursing.

Skills you need to become a successful CNL

Researchers at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences in Tehran found that nurses who are looking for a promotion in their field must have interpersonal skills. Study participants who established great interactions with their colleagues, demonstrated effective communication skills, and acted as a great mentor and were sensitive to ethical issues were more likely to be promoted in nursing. This shows that acquiring these skills early on in your nursing career can increase your chances of success. Regardless of your career stage, consider working on your interpersonal skills, both in and out of work and classroom settings.

To be a successful CNL, you must also have the drive and passion to lead others while still providing quality care for your patients. Subama Mukherjee, a current student in the CNL program, told Minority Nurse she’s taking this next step in her nursing career because she’s always been interested in helping those in need.

“I am drawn to nursing because I wanted to be involved [with direct patient care] in a way that public health does not enable me to be,” she said. “Working with underserved populations is a huge passion of mine, which goes back to my own experience of growing up as an immigrant here in America.”

If you have completed your undergraduate and graduate studies, you can go far in a CNL role, but only if you have the confidence to move forward and advocate for peers and patients. Judy Martin-Holland, Ph.D., RN, MPA, CNS, FNP, told Minority Nurse that confidence is a key asset for someone who is considering pursuing the CNL.

“CNLs are primarily change agents, both for health care systems and for patient populations within a given specialty who need more customized care to meet their needs,” she said. “It really does take a person who is very self-assured to embody the role and use it to empower and advocate for patients in the particular specialty chosen.”

A successful nurse possesses a combination of personal, interpersonal, and functional skills. The more experience and knowledge you have, the better, but it all comes down to your willingness to help others succeed. Moving forward to receive your degree as a CNL is key, but working on your interpersonal skills will complete the puzzle and ensure you’re on the route to success.

Acquire new skills at the University of San Francisco

If you’re ready to move forward and take the next steps as a nursing professional, consider pursuing the online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of San Francisco. You’ll complete classes and practicum hours flexibly, so you can personalize your schedule and get the most out of your education. It’s the perfect option for nurses who are ready to grow in their industry while managing a tight schedule at work and at home. If you’re ready to learn more about the online approach the University of San Francisco offers for nurses, contact the admissions office today.






call to action Comments Open

Leave a Reply

1 × one =