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Celebrating Our CNLs: Amanda Welter '16N

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Photo of Amanda Welter on a staircase in the Children's Hospital, with a bright blue and green mural behind her.

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 in health care systems across the U.S. 

Pediatric ICU nurse Amanda Welter '16N, looks forward to expanding that number as she prepares to finish her CNL degree in May and continue her doctoral studies here.

The University of Rochester is home to one of the nation's first CNL master's programs and the only one in Upstate New York.

Welter was drawn to the program's focus on quality, safety and process improvement — all areas that Welter felt passionate about in her roles as a bedside nurse, assistant nurse manager, and most recently, co-lead of the safety nursing team at Golisano Children's Hospital.



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

I am originally from Buffalo and landed in Rochester to attend RIT for my first bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences. After working for their Orientation program and in the bar and restaurant industry, I took time off to travel in Europe and Asia and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the School of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor's program and started my first nursing job in the Pediatric Cardiac ICU after I graduated. I have been a nurse on this unit for almost eight years and have held a variety of roles, the most recent being the co-lead of the Golisano Children's Hospital Safety Nurses!

I will graduate from the CNL program this May, and then I’m heading directly into the School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program!


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

Instead of answering this question by talking about what can CNLs do, I think the better response is: "What can't they do?" CNLs provide clinical leadership, promote a culture of safety; work towards care delivery that is safe, evidence-based and equitable; and promote optimal quality outcomes through interdisciplinary collaboration.

CNLs are able to create links in so many fragmented chains to help advocate for patients and act as care delivery experts within the health care system.

CNLs add value to health care in every arena imaginable as they are poised and prepared to solve contemporary health care problems. The CNLs I have come across are creative thinkers and expert problem solvers and have put those brains to work from the bedside to the board room!


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

I have had some amazing mentors throughout my career, and have seen many of the nurses I admire and respect most complete this CNL program. I also had prior experience with University of Rochester and had always felt so supported and challenged by the School of Nursing faculty and staff. My personal interests and career goals also align closely with the CNL program, as I have always had a strong focus on quality, safety and evidence-based practice. Additionally, the amazing University employee tuition benefits made it an easy financial choice!


Amanda Welter stands in front of a wooden sign for Golisano Children's Hospital in a hallway.


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

This program and its instructors really want you to succeed. I have been continually astounded at the ways they support their students and meet us where we are at.

As an example, I actually had a baby during the program and never once fell behind. I was also working full-time as an Assistant Nurse manager and with a toddler at home! The CNL program is also incredibly well-designed to get you practice and experience across the health care delivery system and has made it easy to network and connect with CNLs across the campus. The combination of classes and clinical hours is wonderfully designed to introduce and then acclimate you to the CNL role!


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

My capstone project is developing a central line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rounding tool for an inpatient pediatric general care unit. CLABSIs lead to a wide variety of adverse outcomes, including increased mortality and morbidity, longer length of stay in the hospital, and greater health care costs. My project utilized input from a wide variety of unit stakeholders to create this tool that is being used to round weekly on all patients with central lines. During rounding, the interdisciplinary team then identifies threats to the CLABSI prevention bundle, provides real-time education and feedback, addresses concerns to central lines, and promotes best practice.


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

Throughout my time at the School of Nursing, I cannot speak highly enough of the instructors who share their expertise and passion every semester, especially Linda Migliore, Kate Valcin, Melissa Evans, and Shelly Baker.

I have also had some absolutely amazing preceptors who took time out of their busy schedules to help bridge that gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice — notably, Rebecca Kanaley, Stephanie Havens and Dr. Michael Mendoza.

Lastly, I have been impressed and entertained by my cohort of classmates and it has been a wonderful learning experience getting to know professionals from so many different clinical areas and backgrounds!


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

Make sure going into this program that you have a solid support system at work and at home. Having people to ask questions to, bounce ideas off of and de-stress with is the key to balancing work, life, and school. I have been so lucky in that regard to have my husband — fellow School of Nursing graduate Thomas Welter '18N — in my corner to cheer me on. Also, there's never a perfect time to go back to school, so if you've been thinking about applying, there's no better time than the present!

Learn more about UR Nursing's CNL program.

Categories: Nursing Leadership, Alumni

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