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Central Texas Veterans Health Care System

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VA launches national Clinical Nurse Leader consulting service in Central Texas

November 28, 2011

The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System is set to celebrate the launch of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Nursing Services (ONS) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Implementation and Evaluation Service Wednesday, November 30, 2011, at 9 a.m. in the Amphitheater of the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple. VA Central Office ONS staff Cathy Rick, Chief Nursing Officer, and Dr. James Harris, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, will participate in the celebration.

The CNL role emerged from a collaborative partnership between clinical practice and academic leaders in 2003 in response to the Institute of Medicine’s reports on quality and safety of patient care delivery.  This partnership continues to prepare highly skilled nurses who focus on the improvement of quality and safety outcomes for patients and special patient populations across all health care service areas. CNLs oversee care coordination, assess health risks, develop quality improvement strategies, facilitate team communication, and implement evidence-based solutions. The CNL is a master’s prepared nurse clinician working directly at the point of care in a clinical microsystem to insure safe, evidence-based practice and maximize optimal quality outcomes for patients. 

“We are proud to be designated as a national VA Center of Excellence for the Clinical Nurse Leader program in Central Texas,” said Thomas C. Smith, III, FACHE, Director of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.  “Although the CNL role is relatively new to health care, CNLs have proven to add value to a health care system by improving patient outcomes, decreasing hospital lengths of stay, and impacting cost containment efforts.”

CTVHCS has been recognized as a national leader in the VA system for its success in implementing and growing a robust CNL program.  Karen Spada, MSN, MPH, MHA, FNP, Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Service at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System introduced the value of this role and championed the initiation of the Central Texas CNL program in 2007 with a pilot proposal for three trainee positions. The CTVHCS CNL program has since grown to six CNL positions in acute care and community living center microsystems.  The VHA ONS selected CTVHCS as the site to host a national CNL consulting service. to support clinical facilities and academic affiliate organizations across the VA system.   CTVHCS employee Marjory D. Williams, PhD, RN, has been designated as the Program Director for the national ONS CNL Implementation & Evaluation Service.  In this position, she continues to lead the Central Texas CNL program as well as the national service that will provide consultation and help to VA medical centers throughout the nation in the development and sustainment of CNL programs.

Media wishing to attend should call 254-743-2376.