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Masters in Nursing Clinical Nurse Leader

The Clinical Nurse Leader specialization is a job title or function that has been developed in recent years by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The job is primarily focused on maintaining healthcare delivery quality within a clinical setting. A graduate with a Masters in Nursing for Clinical Nurse Leader usually is an experienced clinical specialist, obviously with a MSN, who is charged with evaluating the quality of healthcare in an established environment, analyzing the care programs for a particular cohort of patients, and coordinating the delivery of services with the physician(s), nursing staff, pharmacist, social worker, and any other medical staff that is involved.

The Clinical Nurse Leader role evolved from several years of research on how to involved skilled clinicians in an oversight role that directly addresses the integrated nature of healthcare delivery, particularly in an acute care or inpatient environment. With the increasing reliance on medical specialists more and more patients have an assortment of treatment assignments from doctors or therapists that may or may not be communicating with each other. A graduate with Masters in Nursing for Clinical Nurse Leader is trained to analyze the treatment protocols for patients and where necessary, countermand existing orders. It has been a somewhat controversial concept in an industry where MDs have always been the decision makers, but Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners have developed their own decision making roles in recent years.

This particular MSN specialization does require clinical training, but there are many online master's in nursing programs that offer the Nurse Leader option as a career track. Not all traditional nursing schools have adopted this AACN concept but it is gaining increasing acceptance as healthcare systems grow larger and more impersonal. The use of nursing informatics has helped with the communications between professionals but it has not provided a substitute for the tradition of a primary physician overseeing treatment. A Clinical Nurse Leader's role is to help fill that gap by taking responsibility for the integration of healthcare treatment orders offered up by multiple medical professionals.

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