The Clinical Nurse Leader: Educational Preparation and Roles, Essay Sample

Published: 2022-07-15
The Clinical Nurse Leader: Educational Preparation and Roles, Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Nursing leadership
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 516 words
5 min read

The clinical nurse leader (CNL) role is a new specialty in nursing that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing working together with other stakeholders developed for the purpose of addressing the US healthcare system's safety and quality concerns (Stavrianopoulos, 2012). The CNL role was also developed with the aim of producing nurses with the relevant competencies through advanced training and education, enhancing the quality of patient care, and improving nurse leadership (Stavrianopoulos, 2012).

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As such, the educational preparation of a CNL is an extensive and comprehensive one meant to ensure that competent and well-trained nurse leaders are produced to lead innovation, reform, safety, and quality improvement in the US healthcare system. As a clinician with education at the master's degree level, a CNL must first go through a graduate-level education program (Registered Nursing, 2018). After this, they will earn a Master's Degree in Nursing which prepares them for their advanced roles in the nursing profession. However, according to Registered Nursing (2018), before they can earn the MSN degree, CNLs are required to first pass the NCLEX-RN examination and complete the Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing. After completing the Bachelor's degree in nursing and becoming registered nurses, one is required to take advanced courses in pharmaology, clinical assessment, and pathophysiology under a Master's of Science Clinical Nurse Leader program (Rgistered Nursing, 2018). The final stage in the preparation for the position and role of a clinical nurse leader is the issuance of a CNL certification by the Commission on Nurse Certification.

According to Joseph and Huber (2015), clinical nurse leaders are educationally prepared to take on various roles as life long learners, information managers, health care team leaders, advocates, outcomes managers, educators, and expert generalist clinicians. Specifically, CNLs play the roles of collaborating with other health care professionals in improving quality of care, evaluating, coordinating, and designing the delivery care, advocating for healthcare teams, communities, and patients, and improving healthcare outcomes using information technology systems. Furthermore, CNLs play the roles of developing and implementing evidence-based practices in nursing to improve patient care outcomes, ensuring cost-effective care and addressing obstacles to efficiency in healthcare, and performing risk analyses and assessments to enhance patient safety (Joseph & Huber, 2015).

An example of how the CNL influences direct patient care in the community is the use of the microsystem assessment framework in identifying the safety and quality concerns of patients in rural communities who have limited access to quality care. CNLs apply evidence-based information in develoing and coordinating healthcare plans for those with various conditions in the rural areas where most patients die due to less emphasis on care quality and patient safety. To do this, CNLs design community clinics where they partner with various stakeholders in the community.


Joseph, M.L., & Huber, D.L. (2015).Clinical leadership development and education for nurses: prospects and opportunities. Journal of Health Leadership, 7, 55-64. Retrieved from

Registered Nursing. (2018). Clinical Nurse Leader. Retrieved from

Stavrianopoulos, T. (2012). The clinical nurse leader. Health Science Journal, 6(3), 392-401. Retrieved from

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