Clinical Nurse Leader

Educational preparations

As per the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) definition, a clinical nurse leader is a generalist clinician who has attained education levels of a master’s degree on higher. The education level is set at the masters’ level to ensure that the leader has high level of clinical expertise and knowledge. The education program for the CNL covers issues such as liberal background in the arts and science, professional values, core competencies, core knowledge, and role development. The graduates from these CNL programs are specialized for one specific practice setting. The education programs of CNL equips nurses with knowledge on the five core competencies (Stavrianopoulos, 2012).

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The Clinical nurse leader works in collaboration with the clinical nurses, physicians and other health care providers as well as patients and their families to offer better patient-centered care through the efforts of an inter-disciplinary team. The CNL takes lead in the processes of care that allows them to synthesis best practice from various disciplines to ensure improved patient outcomes.

The CNL acts as a facilitator of direct care. They collaborate with care givers, offer support and assessment of patients with complicated health issues and rehabilitation needs, give referral where necessary, and coach the caregivers in their unit of care (Stavrianopoulos, 2012).

How the CNL influences direct patient care 

One of the ways through which the CNL influences direct patient care is enhancing the collaboration amongst the healthcare providers and the patients. The CNL helps bridge the gap between the nursing assistants, doctors and other physicians. The complexity of healthcare settings requires effective and timely communication between different providers. By bridging this gap, the CNL helps reducing risk of harm that may result from communication breakdown (Monaghan, 2011).


Monaghan, H. (2011). Clarifying the Clinical Nurse Leader Role: Guardian of Care. American Nurse Today.

Stavrianopoulos, T. (2012). The Clinical Nurse Leader. Health Science Journal .

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