Cleveland Clinic Names First-Ever ACNO of Advanced Practice Nursing

Lahl to lead system’s 1,000 APRNs, launch APRN fellowship

In a role new to Cleveland Clinic, Meredith A. Lahl, MSN, APRN, PCNS-BC, PPCNP-BC, CPON, has been named the health system’s associate chief nursing officer (ACNO) of advanced practice nursing.

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Her first order of business is the launch of a Cleveland Clinic APRN fellowship.

“Advanced practice nursing continues to be a prominent area of focus for Cleveland Clinic health system,” says Cleveland Clinic Executive Chief Nursing Officer K. Kelly Hancock, DNP, RN, NE-BC. “As patient volumes and the demand for advanced care providers continue to increase, this position and fellowship are pivotal components of Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to meeting the current and future needs of healthcare.”

Lahl has been leading Cleveland Clinic’s advanced practice nursing program for the past 5 years as a senior director, also supervising the health system’s 40 inpatient clinical nurse specialists. Building on the foundation she helped to develop, her new responsibilities include oversight and supervision of scope of practice, recruitment, quality, credentialing and privileging for Cleveland Clinic’s growing number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

With more than 1,000 APRNs currently working throughout the health system, Cleveland Clinic is the largest employer of APRNs in the state of Ohio and one of the largest in the country. Cleveland Clinic’s APRNs provide care for patients throughout its numerous hospitals, family health centers, outpatient clinics and ambulatory care settings.

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Cleveland Clinic’s first-ever APRN fellowship

In an effort to further train the growing number of nurses in pursuit of advanced practice roles, Lahl and other nursing experts at Cleveland Clinic have spent several years strategically developing and creating Cleveland Clinic’s first-ever APRN fellowship.

Expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017, the fellowship is designed to train participants to successfully transition into the clinical decision-making role required of advanced practice nurses.

Training and education will be both clinical and didactic, including interdisciplinary classes and lectures, as well as simulation, which will include a baseline assessment to individualize providers’ needs. Programming will also include various professionalism topics and will require participants to complete projects such as journaling, abstract submission, professional presentation and more. The fellowship will consist of multiple evaluations over the course of 1 year, but will encourage individuals to become productive providers within 4 to 6 months.

“What we are finding is that nurses training to become APRNs are returning to graduate school with less bedside nursing experience than before,” says Lahl. “Therefore, it is even more important to develop keen assessment skills, critical thinking skills and follow up. Our new APRN fellowship focuses on each of these key areas and brings insurmountable value to its participants – making it another avenue to draw exceptional nurses from throughout the U.S. to Cleveland Clinic.”

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Committed to advancing nursing practice

From her success at Cleveland Clinic to her involvement in numerous professional organizations and associations, as well as her work with Ohio’s healthcare legislation, Lahl is known across the industry for her commitment to advancing the nursing profession.

She is the Ohio chapter president for the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), also serving on several national APHON association committees. She is highly involved in the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), including serving as a content expert and chair for the ANCC’s pediatric clinical nurse specialist (CNS) exam. She is a member and key person of the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses’ Full Practice Authority Committee. And, she serves as a member of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses.

Lahl also co-chairs Cleveland Clinic nursing institute’s Image and Branding Council and Legislative and Health Policy Council and has served as clinical faculty for APN students at several colleges and universities.

She holds a dual certification as a CNS and as a nurse practitioner in pediatrics. She earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA degree, with expected graduation in May 2017. Lahl assumed her new position in September 2016.