Xavier wins advanced nursing grant from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Award supports development of Clinical Nurse Leader concentration for graduate students | June 26, 2008

Xavier’s Department of Nursing is adding a new concentration to its Master of Science in Nursing program with an $809,090 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant, announced this week, will be used to develop a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) concentration within the master’s program. The Clinical Nurse Leader specialty enables experienced, practicing Registered Nurses to develop advanced skills that allow them to remain at the bedside as an advanced generalist coordinating very complex care in a holistic manner for patients in all health care institutions. 

The Clinical Nurse Leader is a national initiative developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2004 to improve health care delivery systems and increase nurses’ job satisfaction and long-term retention. The new concentration builds upon the department’s MIDAS program—Master of Science in Nursing: Direct Entry as Second Degree—which offers a pre-licensure master’s degree to non-nursing students and includes a Clinical Nurse Leader element. It’s the only program in the Cincinnati area, and one of only two programs in Ohio, to prepare clinical nurse leaders.
By increasing the number of highly qualified, advanced education nurses prepared to address increasingly complex health care needs, the program enhances primary care services in urban and rural underserved communities in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. The program also aims to increase diversity in the advanced education nursing workforce by enrolling qualified nurses from disadvantaged and underrepresented minority backgrounds. Another goal is address health disparities by educating clinical nurse leaders for public health professions and community-based positions in underserved areas.

 The program will admit at least 20 students each year, beginning in fall 2008. The required 43 credit hours can be completed by nurses with bachelor’s degrees in four full-time semesters or up to seven part-time semesters. RNs with associate degrees or diplomas can enter the MSN-CNL program after completing bridge courses to help them succeed in graduate work. Upon completion, graduates will be eligible to take the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Exam and the American Holistic Nurse Certification Exam.

In addition to developing the CNL concentration, the three-year grant project will support collaboration among local partner health care organizations to help them redesign their infrastructure to ensure effective incorporation of the CNL role into work environments. 

Xavier is partnering with 12 institutions to support this new role. These include eight hospital systems—Drake Center, TriHealth, Summit Behavioral Healthcare, Fort Hamilton Hospital, Mercy Health Partners, Cincinnati Veterans Administration Hospital in Ohio; St. Luke Hospital and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Kentucky—plus the City of Cincinnati Public Health Department, Norwood Health Department, MJ Nurse Registry, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The VA has implemented the CNL role as an integral part of the medical interdisciplinary teams and created four positions,” said Jeannette Criswell, Cincinnati Veterans Administration Hospital Chief Nurse Executive.

“They function to facilitate patient care—rounding with teams, bringing information related to care, having responsibility for several patient performance measures, assuring specific clinical measures are being addressed such as heart failure patient education, assisting the team with coordination of care and discharge planning, and following up post-discharge to identify customer satisfaction and patient care issues that can be addressed to support patient care, as well as facilitating care within the nursing team and directly with patients.”

Xavier’s BSN and MSN programs are approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing, accredited by CCNE and endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation.

 Dr. Cynthia Sublett, DNSc, RN, is the project’s associate director. A certified CNL, Sublett has taught courses and coordinated practicum experiences in the MIDAS program.

 “This grant offers Cincinnati and its surrounding area a tremendous opportunity to not only be at the cutting edge of nursing practice but also to offer what is the best of patient care to our constituents,” Sublett said.

“Working together with our partners and the expertise of potential students who will enter the nursing program, patient care services in all of the partner institutions can only be better than it already is. The nurse graduating from this program will remain focused on patient care at the point of care, whether that is at the bedside in the hospital, in the home or in a community agency. The Xavier University nursing department looks forward to its role in advancing the care of all of the patients in this community.”

The program is currently accepting applications. For more information, please call Marilyn Gomez, Director of Nursing Student Services, at 513-745-4392 or e-mail gomez@xavier.edu.

The Advanced Education Nursing Program, administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds projects that enhance advanced nursing education and practice in master’s and doctoral programs, combined RN/master’s degree programs, post-nursing master’s certificate programs, or, in the case of nurse midwives, certificate programs.