The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role was created by the American Association of Colleges in Nursing (AACN) in 2003.
According to a journal from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, The CNL understands microsystem issues and their relationship to larger organizational issues. This perspective provides a two-way flow of information to and from health system leaders as they direct an institutional response to the pandemic around issues such as assessing patterns of spread, patient acuity, appropriate staffing levels, and personal protective equipment utilization.
A successful CNL must be confident in their communication abilities. They're expected to provide the coaching and direction staff needs to adapt to frequent changes. Whether it be transforming hospital departments into COVID-19 units or creating sanitation and PPE protocols for staff.
Communication is also key in keeping staff informed and calm throughout the pandemic by addressing any questions or concerns they have. Nurses want to feel that management has their backs, and CNLs are the ones they will look to in times of need.
Leaders should be responsible for supporting the well-being and mental health of the healthcare team. CNLs should advocate for adequate programs and resources for Nurses to cope and deal with stress.
Not only should Nurse leaders advocate for their fellow Nurses, they should also be the voice for their patients. According to NursingCenter, the CNL acts as a patient advocate by incorporating patients' unique values, desires, needs, and perspectives into patient care delivery.
Another way Nurse leaders advocate for patients during COVID-19 is providing a way for patients to communicate with their families. Because of the pandemic, visitation is prohibited. Leaders work with management to provide devices for patients to see and talk with loved ones.
Lastly, a successful Nurse leader must be resilient. Personal resilience is key and leaders can find it by…
- Letting go of what they can't control
- Leading with their head as well as their heart
- Showing strength through vulnerability
The CNL is a valuable member of the Nursing profession and team. They do their best to maintain safety while providing the best patient care possible during this extremely stressful pandemic.