The University of San Francisco: School of Nursing

The Bridge - USF School of Nursing Newsletter

 The Bridge - USF School of Nursing Newsletter 
Summer 2009 - Vol IV Issue 1

CNL Program Offered at VA Hospital in Palo Alto

Nurses at the VA Hospital Palo Alto are pursuing degrees from the School of Nursing’s Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program without having to leave the hospital.
Thanks to an innovative program put together by a USF graduate nursing student, 32 VA nurses are taking USF nursing classes at the hospital. The classes are taught by USF faculty and are based on USF curriculum. Some of the students have bachelor’s degrees, others have associate degrees, but all are working toward a CNL master’s degree.

“They don’t have to drive anywhere,” said Enna Edouard Trevathan, nurse manager for ambulatory care at the hospital and a student in the School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. “They can just leave the floor and within five minutes be in the classroom.”

The CNL is a new nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and is designed for nurses with graduate-level preparation to provide direct patient care and clinical leadership to ensure that patients benefit from the latest evidence-based innovations in care delivery. The VA Hospital in Palo Alto anticipates having one clinical nurse leader in each of its 42 units by 2016, Trevathan said. The problem, however, is that there will not be enough CNL-educated nurses because it is a new role, Trevathan said.

“You have to grow your own because you’re not going to have enough to pull out from a pool nationwide,” Trevathan said.

Trevathan recognized that future need when she began working on the final project for her degree and set to work on helping the VA meet its goal. The first students—those with an associate degree—began in August 2008, followed in January 2009 by nurses with a bachelor’s degree. By fall 2009, both groups will be at the same level and will take the remaining classes together as a cohort.

Trevathan said nurses have thanked her for the work in setting up the program at the VA. Many had been interested in earning a master’s degree, but didn’t want to give up working at the bedside—most other advanced degrees for nurses focus on a particular specialty or nursing administration.

“Now, the nurses can see how their expertise is going to be used,” Trevathan said. “They can see how they are going to continue to make a difference in the nursing profession.”

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