Fairfield University offering new graduate nursing program in emerging and innovative field of Clinical Nurse Leader


Fairfield University's School of Nursing is offering a new graduate nursing program in an emerging and evolving career growth area for nurses: the Clinical Nurse Leader. Applications are now being accepted for this new master's degree program for the fall semester, which begins Tuesday, September 4, 2007. Nurses with a Registered Nurse (RN) license and a bachelor's degree in nursing or other field, and who work or have experience in acute, home care or long term care settings may apply. The program is designed to be completed on a part-time basis by qualified nurses. Graduates of the program will earn a Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL).

A Clinical Nurse Leader is a role newly created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in response to an urgent call for better patient outcomes and improved coordination in the delivery of healthcare services. The Association calls it 'an exciting and innovative role.' In practice, Clinical Nurse Leaders bridge the gap between physicians, staff nurses and patients to improve the quality and continuity of patient care. These nurses will be prepared to track the outcomes of patients on their units and design strategies to improve care so that patients better recuperate and therefore go home earlier. Clinical Nurse Leaders also fill the important role of client advocate, information manager, care team manager, outcome manager and educator.

In making the announcement about Fairfield's new graduate program, Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph. D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing, explained how Clinical Nurse Leaders enhance the knowledge of the entire healthcare team of a patient and impact more positive patient outcomes. "Clinical Nurse Leaders will be playing an important role in patient care by improving communication and relaying more research-based information to social workers, the psychological team, the surgical team, staff nurses and other key healthcare providers. Ultimately, Clinical Nurse Leaders enhance the knowledge of the entire healthcare team of a patient."

Dr. Novotny also praised Fairfield University's institutional partners who are helping launch this new program. "Our partners at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Haven, Danbury Hospital, St. Vincent's Medical Center, and Greenwich Hospital have all provided valuable insights and support of this new graduate program and are encouraging their nurses to learn more about the vast career opportunities available to qualified nurses interested in becoming Clinical Nurse Leaders."

There are numerous other career opportunities for Clinical Nurse Leaders outside of a hospital setting, including insurance companies, long term care facilities and public health or home care agencies. Graduates will be prepared to meet the predominant healthcare challenges of the future, such as the needs of an aging population. They also will be educated in chronic illness management, health promotion, and disease prevention.

The Clinical Nurse Leader program requires 39 credits of coursework, including 11 credits of practicum experience. Since it is anticipated that most students attending the program will be working full-time, the CNL degree program will offer a combination of convenient evening, weekend and online course schedules. All of the practicum requirements can be completed in the student's work setting.

For more information, contact Fairfield University's Graduate Admissions Office at (203) 254-4184 or toll free at 888-488-6840, or e-mail gradadmis@mail.fairfield.edu. More detailed information can also be found online at www.fairfield.edu/son_gtracks.html.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 5, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 238