What is a CNL?

Nurses who want to keep providing direct patient care, while also creating solutions to enhance patient outcomes, should consider pursing certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). The CNL is a leadership role for nurses in the clinical environment, and a position dedicated to improving quality of care and identifying and delivering evidence-based practice. 

The Clinical Nurse Leader is responsible for evaluating patient outcomes, assessing risk across groups of patients, developing or revising care plans, and coordinating care among the multidisciplinary health care team. The CNL acts as a liaison between nursing administration and the staff nurse, serving as an invaluable resource to that frontline care provider.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing developed this emerging role by working with leaders from health care industry and education to improve patient care and nurse preparation in the modern health care system. Learn more about the national effort to create and promote the CNL role.