In 2014, the Affordable Care Act propelled 1.4 million insured people into Californian’s health care system (, a staggering number that continues to put a significant burden on providing high quality, safe, and effective health care.

As health care shifts from the traditional illness model to a wellness model, care will move from acute care delivery (hospitals) to ambulatory care (clinics) delivered in medical homes.  As such, care coordination, informatics, and interdisciplinary teams are essential components moving forward. For this reason, there is an increasing demand for the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), a provider and manager of care able to meet the needs of the aging and increasingly diverse population through health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic disease management.

With over 400,000 registered nurses in California making up the largest segment of the health care providers, RNs are perfectly positioned to assist with meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving and expanding health care system. In order to meet California’s health care needs, registered nurses must be prepared by achieving advanced levels of nursing education and must be willing to assume new roles in health care delivery.

The registered nurse of the future must be prepared to utilize evidence-based practice, technology, data management systems, and population health while at the same time leveraging human, environmental, and material resources. New models of care delivery are presenting daily and challenging RNs to take on new roles and be leaders in collaboration and innovation.

Last August, Touro University California opened a School of Nursing with an inaugural class of 30 local registered nurses possessing an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) and one bachelor’s prepared RN (BSN). They are on track to graduate in December 2015 with a second cohort being admitted in August 2015.

The School of Nursing program provides students with a master’s degree in nursing and eligibility for national certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL).  The CNL, a position initiated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2007, functions at the microsystem level to improve patient outcomes and increase safety and efficiency, assuring timely and equitable delivery of health care.

Located on Mare Island in Vallejo, Touro University California is the only nursing program providing graduate education that is physically housed in Solano County.  By providing advanced education in the region, TUC is committed to answering the national call issued by the Institute of Medicine (2010) to elevate the preparation level of nurses.

In addition, Touro University California School of Nursing is partnering with local health care agencies to prepare students with advanced nursing education that will be essential contributors in improving health care outcomes in the region.

In this quickly-changing, increasingly complex clinical care environment, the need for Clinical Nurse Leaders is on the rise as they meet higher healthcare standards. They are the largest health-care providers in the country and are a valuable asset in the health care system.

stoltz-headshot for Touro 15.06By Ann D. Stoltz, RN, PhD