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Clinical Nurse Leader

certifying organization info

American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Clinical Nurse Leader
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530 Washington
DC 20036


The Clinical Nurse Leader or CNL is a new nursing role being developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with leaders from the education and practice arenas. AACN is advancing the CNL to improve the quality of patient care and to better prepare nurses to thrive in the health care system. The CNL role emerged following research and discussion with stakeholder groups as a way to engage highly skilled clinicians in outcomes-based practice and quality improvement. In practice, the CNL oversees the care coordination of a distinct group of patients and actively provides direct patient care in complex situations. This master's degree-prepared clinician puts evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risk, and has the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. The CNL is a leader in the health care delivery system, and the implementation of this role will vary across settings.

Clinical Nurse Leader Website


Work Experience Required? No

Oral or Written Exam Required? Yes

Renewal Required? Every 5 Year(s)

Renew through Continuing Educational Units(CEU)? Yes

Renew through Re-Examination? Yes

Renew through Continuing Professional Development(CPD)? Yes

Does applicant have choice of at least two options from above for renewal (CEU, CPD, or exam)? Yes

This certification is accredited by NCCA.
Read more about NCCA.

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