Shadowing a Doctor

June 26, 2015

Mentors and students in ThailandA Clinical Nurse Leader is an advanced nursing role. In addition to providing and managing patient care, clinical nurse leaders or CNLs also coordinate, delegate and supervise the services provided by their team which includes licensed nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals. As a CNL, it will be your responsibility to promote excellence in this field ethically and morally and to ensure that professional standards are maintained by all staff working on your team.

While leadership qualities lie at the core of this role, there are also several other attributes that are essential for excelling as a clinical nurse leader.

  • Empathy & Altruism

Concern for the well-being of others is a must-have trait in all nurses and it is no different for CNLs. As a CNL, you will often have to act as an advocate for patients and also mentor other professionals. To excel in this role, it is essential for you to understand and accept the different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs of different people without any judgment. Above all, you will need to be highly motivated to carry out your duties and help others without the expectation of gaining any recognition or award in return. While the technological aspects of this role can be learnt in the classroom, empathy and altruism are instinctive qualities that cannot be taught. If you are not genuinely altruistic and empathetic, you will find yourself struggling in this nurse-leadership role.

  • Integrity

Integrity is essential in the field of nursing and more so for a clinical nurse leader. As a clinical nurse leader it is imperative that you uphold the profession and ensure that patient care is provided honestly and ethically. Errors should be picked out and corrected. As a leader, it is up to you to work with integrity so that you can set an example for the people who are following you.

  • Human Dignity

As a clinical nurse leader you must respect all patients and colleagues and act in accordance with a code of ethics and accepted standards of practice. This includes things such as protecting patient confidentiality, designing treatment plans with sensitivity to the needs of individual clients and being honest with the patients’ families about their loved one’s prognosis.

  • Accountability

It is the responsibility of a CNL to provide top quality care to patients and also to provide practical suggests that would help improve the overall healthcare system. Accountability will allow you to act as you see right, implement necessary changes and carry them through while still being responsible for every outcome, whether good or bad. It is your responsibility to provide care that is cost-effective and of the highest quality.

  • Social Justice

Upholding moral, humanistic and legal principals is of utmost importance in this role. This means making a stand when necessary in support of fairness and non-discrimination in the delivery of care and promoting unrestricted access to health care to all sections of society. While delivering care to patients, you must strive to be fair and non-discriminatory. As a CNL you may also hold discourses with policy makers and partner with community organisations to identify and address existing health disparities.

Though it is still a relatively new specialty, this is a strong leadership role where, with the right skills, you will have the power and influence to shape the future of nursing and the quality of healthcare.