Nurse Leadership Training


The positions of Nurse Leader (NL) and Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) are relatively new, and were developed to move experienced Registered Nurses into leadership positions.  It was recognized early on that, once they are bedside or at the operating table, the opportunity for realizing leadership potential for most Registered Nurses was gone, as the role of nurse is necessarily a subservient one.  These positions fill that gap; a NL is an RN who is a leader in management and finances.

Nurse Leadership Training in Universities

Most universities with accredited nursing programs now offer advanced coursework in Clinical Nurse Leadership training, designed to train the Registered Nurse (RN) to serve both as clinical resource for her facility and health care team facilitator, as well overseer for caregivers.   The advanced coursework includes the following paradigms:

-Health policies, their application and financing

-Clinical outcomes and how to manage and coordinate them

-Cost effective management of the medical facility’s environment

-Leadership in facilitating and coordinating a nursing team.

-The health care delivery system and how to augment/improve it at your site

-Evidence-based nursing and how to integrate its practices into the medical routine

The training courses involve situational ethics and management of outcomes, introducing the new NL to the most common situational problems she will face in her career as a leader and problem solver.   The university training for a NL is approximately 2 to 3 years, and culminates with the examination for, and achievement of, the Nurse Leader certification (CNL certificate) as recognized by the CNC (Commission on Nurse Certification).

What are some Online Nurse Leadership Training Programs?

Many Nurse Leadership Training Programs are found online, such as:

  • Leadership and Stewardship in the Health Professions, a program whose emphasis is upon the management paradigms and working as a leader with a large staff, available from Online School NLTP.  There is also Economics of Healthcare Management and Policy, a separate training that emphasizes economics.
  • NurseLEAD invites participants practice specific leadership skills learned online in the workplace.  Available from LeadingAge/AAHSA.
  • The Minority Nurse Leadership Institute, an online training specifically to nurses in minorities, available from the Rutgers nursing school website; in addition to management and financial training, it also equips nurses of color to override the possible barriers they may encounter to employment as a leader or in the workplace once they are hired.

After Training, What Are The Typical Nurse Leadership Expectations?

As one might expect, the NL position is highly competitive, and as with many such positions, it variable, and full-time (12 hour), shifts.  But expectations for the trained NL go beyond this, specifically in financial and in management paradigms.

The NL in a medical facility is expected to serve as a care delivery leader, designing and coordinating care programs for individual patients, with assessment and evaluation of her own program included in the workday.  The NL also predicts the needs for patient care and plans for its modification based on acuity/care trends, the educational needs of her staff and, naturally, the patient outcomes.

Most hospitals, in addition to leadership of a staff, are looking for cost effective candidates who can manage budgeting and evidentiary changes in the medical routine (that is, changes that evidence demonstrates as necessary).  As well, most employers are seeking individuals who show efficient resource utilization.

Nurse Leadership Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for Nurse Leader and Clinical Nurse Leader is referenced through the Bureau of Labor/Statistic as identical to that of a Registered Nurse (a 9% to 26% projected growth from 2013 to 2018).  All the salary earnings noted are lower than those of other leadership positions in nursing, such as NP (nurse practitioner) or CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist); however, this is probably due to the fact that the new position does not allow for figures based on seniority (the data is from new CNLs with little advancement).  The listed average national salary for a Nurse Leader is $82,000.

If you are an experience RN, Nurse Leader Training might just be the step up you need to a better and more fulfilling leadership position, one that recognizes your potential and plays to your strengths. 

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★ Featured Online Nursing Programs

You might also be interested in one of the following featured nursing programs that are currently accepting students and have online or hybrid nursing programs. You can get in touch with these featured programs directly to get your questions answered. Be sure to check with each program on specific prerequisites for their program!

Online BSN Programs

Online MSN Programs

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