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Celebrating Our CNLs: Adrianne Edlund

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Adrianne Edlund, her husband and children sitting for a family photo on a bench with trees behind them.

Every March, CNL Day celebrates the unique contributions of Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs) in health care systems. From the bedside to board rooms, more than 8,000 CNLs are improving the quality of patient care and putting evidence-based practice into action across the U.S.

Adrianne Edlund MS, RN, CHFN, NPD-BC, NE-BC, who has been a cardiac nurse for 20 years, is preparing to finish her CNL master's degree in May.

Looking to further her impact as Director of Nursing for UR Medicine Cardiac Care, Thoracic & Dialysis Nursing, Edlund chose the CNL program to help her push her leadership skills further and drive process improvement and change. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career background?

I have been a cardiac nurse for 20 years. I started at a small community hospital in Pennsylvania and worked there for a few years before coming to Strong Memorial Hospital. It gave me a lot of great experience and I learned a lot about how to provide great care with limited resources.

I moved to Rochester and took a job as a staff nurse on the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Unit; this unit became my home for 11 years. I had the opportunity to become an Assistant Nurse Manager on this unit and focused on unit education which is my passion. I have had multiple other opportunities to grow professionally, including working as a service line educator, an assistant director, and now the director of nursing for cardiac care, thoracic, and dialysis nursing.

What led you to choose the CNL master's program?

I completed my Master’s in 2009 and to be honest, I didn’t know at that time what program I should go with and what would prepare me best for my future goals. The CNL program is probably one of the most versatile master’s programs for nurses wishing to function as leaders who can drive process improvement and change. It provides a robust structure to help prepare nurses and can be so impactful across a variety of care areas, roles, and specialties.

What are some of your biggest takeaways from the CNL program?

In order to understand what needs to change and how to drive that change, it is necessary to embed yourself within those systems, and with the individuals who do the work. The CNL program allows you the skills to be able to use a critical lens to analyze environments and situations. The other takeaway from the CNL program has been the recognition of the many different ways CNL’s function across the enterprise. This program has given me a new appreciation for the vast knowledge and experiences that the CNL is able to offer. I have also been able to forge relationships and network with others that have helped to support me in my CNL coursework as well as in my professional role.

Can you describe your capstone project and you feel it has made an impact?

My capstone is focused on understanding central line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) in dialysis lines and developing meaningful auditing and education to foster performance improvement. Through this project, we have been able to get specific data from the Quality Institute to help us better understand our dialysis line CLABSI rate. This is a vulnerable population and we have a lot of variability in performance; this is definitely an area we can target improvements. The project focuses on a unit-based champion and a comprehensive audit tool; these are used together to identify gaps in practice and provide real-time remediation. We have gathered measurable data on our adherence to standards of practice within the dialysis microsystem. The hope is to expand it to the hospital, and ultimately the broader enterprise.

How would you describe the value of CNLs in health care?

CNLs have a breadth of knowledge that helps them to be valuable across a variety of settings. I think the beauty of the CNL is that you find them in a variety of roles; all of these roles lend themselves to the expertise and skill set that they possess. Health care has changed drastically over the last several years. Oganizations who employ CNLs and put them in places where they can help drive change and foster quality outcomes will be better suited for the future, compared to those who do not.

Who has made an impact on you throughout your time at the School of Nursing?

There are so many who have contributed to my academic growth, served as a sounding board for ideas, helped me to persevere through some challenges, and guided me through the process. I appreciate the faculty, the preceptors, my classmates; I have built a lot of relationships during my short-time here.

If I had to identify one particular person, I would pick Linda Migliore. She has been a fantastic mentor and helped me with identifying the right academic program to consider, as well as served as a guide throughout this entire process. She definitely helped to set me up for success through opportunities and preceptor assignments. I am eternally grateful for her support and guidance in this process.

Do you have any tips or advice for nurses considering the CNL program?

I think one of the things I would suggest is to examine where CNLs function and what they are responsible for. If you are committing to a program it is important to make sure it meshes with your future goals. I think if you want to be a leader, drive process improvement, incorporate evidence-based practice, and mentor and grow others, the CNL might be the right choice for you. Additionally, if you think you want to continue on the academic track and consider a DNP, the CNL is one of the pathways that will help you in that endeavor.

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?

Trust the process. It seems hard and at times overwhelming, but everything and everyone is in place and here to make you successful. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

Learn more about UR Nursing's CNL program.

Categories: Nursing Leadership

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