Clinical Leadership in Nursing Practice Area: Telemetry2017-10-20T09:50:22-07:00


The CNL role combines clinical and bedside work with patients, along with leadership and measurement of patient outcomes. Telemetry encompasses the informatics side of the job in a more technical environment for patient care.

Roles & Responsibilities:

Telemetrics CNLs are responsible for design, initiation, and evaluation of patient care based on the data they collect. Such data could come from the following sources:

  • Holistic assessments

  • Problem identification

  • Results of other chronic care and management models, theories, and concepts

  • Information from interdisciplinary team members

Average Salary for Clinical Leadership in Nursing Practice Area: Telemetry:

The salary of a CNL working in telemetry varies anywhere from $52,000 to $102,000 per year. On average, a Clinical Nurse Leader in this area receives about $76,166 annually. (Note: Salary data collected as of 2016.)


A Clinical Nurse Leader is an advanced generalist educated at a master’s degree level; they are required to have an MSN from a program accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). They may also require a nursing license specific to the state in which they plan to operate. For telemetry, additional training or certifications may be required.

Work Environment:

Clinical Leadership in Nursing Practice Area: Telemetry

For those pursue Clinical Leadership in Nursing who work in Hospital telemetry units (also sometimes called step-down units) are designed for patients who require close monitoring after being released from the ICU. Most telemetry units are dedicated to patients with acute cardiac conditions.

With the continuous risk of a repeated cardiac event, the constant necessity of attention to fine detail, and the high level of care required for patients in critical condition, telemetry units can be a demanding place to work.

Relevant Skill Sets:

Specialized knowledge of acute cardiac conditions will be necessary in this role. In order to design patient care models in the telemetry unit, CNLs will also need to develop deep familiarity with cardiac monitoring devices, especially EKG machines.

This knowledge base will also become important when educating patients about their condition and imparting to them the skills they will need to care for themselves once released from the hospital.

Other Considerations:

The schedule of a full-time CNL working in telemetry can be challenging, but the hours are predictable. For most CNLs a typical workweek will be composed of 12-hour shifts, three days a week. This can include weekends and holidays, though unlike other work situations, working past a shift will mean overtime pay.

Even more challenging is the fact that telemetry units are stressful environments with high-stake outcomes. Patients who come through the telemetry unit may have been released from the ICU, but they are still in critical condition. To that end, burnout rates tend to be high in such an atmosphere. So, it will be important to find effective ways of relaxing when not at the hospital.

Typically, nurse-to-patient ratios can range from 1:4 to 1:6 on a day shift and 1:6 to 1:10 on a night shift, depending on the hospital and the state.

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Practice Areas

While a Clinical Nurse Leader can work in various settings, different roles mean different responsibilities. The most common practice areas where a CNL can be found are highlighted below. To learn more by clicking on each icon.

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What education level is required to be a CNL?

You will need at least a MSN with a concentration in Clinical Nurse Leadership or a similar program. This is because a CNL needs to be a resource for their nursing team, and the MSN assures that a nurse is clinically competent to do that.  There are also Post-Master’s Certificate programs that will prepare any nurse already carrying an MSN degree for the CNL exam.

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