When it comes to coordinating patient care, Emily Jestes and Holly Haddad, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen's first Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs), can be found doing just about everything together.
"Our most important responsibility as clinical nurse leaders is to look at the whole patient," Jestes said. "We round on patients five days a week, help manage expectations throughout their hospital stay, and promote a team-based approach to care by keeping an open line of communication between the care team and the patient."
"A major advantage of being a CNL is still having the bedside interaction with patients," Haddad added. "We serve as a resource for the unit nurses, helping identify risks and educating patients before they leave the hospital to help prevent readmissions."
The CNL role is a fast emerging nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). It is the first new nursing role in four decades.
In practice, a CNL oversees the care coordination of a distinct group of patients and actively provides direct patient care in complex situations. CNLs evaluate patient outcomes, assess risks and have the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. The CNL serves as the focal point for the patient, family and health care team in coordinating the patient's plan of care and providing information. Texas Health Resources nurses are among the first in the state to complete certification to become CNLs. There are currently 15 CNLs across the system.
"The Clinical Nurse Leader role was developed to prepare highly skilled nurses at the master's level for improvement of quality and safety outcomes," explained Jane Cook, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Allen. "We are delighted to have Emily and Holly making a difference for patient care in this role at Texas Health Allen."