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Clinical Nurse Leaders: Driving Real Results

There are myriad reasons to consider a career as a Clinical Nurse Leader® (CNL). CNLs are improving quality, safety, and patient outcomes across the healthcare industry. These certified clinicians hold a master’s degree and are committed to making patient care their first priority while delivering faster, more cost-effective results.

Clinical Nurse Leaders Drive Real Results

There are myriad reasons to consider a career as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). CNLs are improving quality, safety, and patient outcomes across the healthcare industry. These certified clinicians hold a master’s degree and are committed to making patient care their first priority while delivering faster, more cost-effective results.

The Need for Clinical Nurse Leaders

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing introduced the CNL role in 2003 in an effort to address critical issues facing the healthcare industry such as

  • 98,000 preventable deaths each year.
  • $17-29 billion in annual losses from medical errors.
  • 20% nursing shortage by 2020.

What is a Clinical Nurse Leader?

First new nursing role in nearly 40 years.

A CNL bridges the gap between patient care and clinical leadership across all healthcare settings, communicating with…

  • Patients
  • Physicians
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Any other members of a healthcare team
  • Delivers measurable cost savings for both patients and their healthcare providers
  • Constantly evaluates strategies to drive higher-quality, more affordable care
  • Focuses on outcome-based practice and process improvement

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How CNLs Improve Their Workplaces

CNLs say they often…

  1. Suggest an efficiency-boosting, cost-saving idea or process
  2. Promote safety and quality care via institution-wide committees
  3. Create educational materials for patients and staff
  4. Improve outcomes for both patients and staff using:
  • Research-based evidence
  • Microsystems analysis
  • Aggregate data sets

Measurable Results

VA Clinic Improvements

Reduced waste and overhead expenses

  • Increased nursing hours per patient day by 11%
  • Estimated $461,775 in annual cost savings

Higher quality care

  • 3x fewer cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)
  • VAP increases patient cost of care by $40,000
  • Decreased incidents of pressure ulcers from 12.5% down to 4.2%
  • 50% reduction in patient falls

By 2016, VA Medical Centers will implement CNLs at all points of care

Clinical Microsystems Outcomes

39% reduction in post-knee-surgery blood transfusions

Fewer surgical complications

  • 50% fewer gastrointestinal lab work cancellations
  • 14% fewer ambulatory surgery cancellations
  • 50% fewer lost hours at patient transport department

What CNLs and Colleagues Say About Their Value

“Promising signs of positive impacts of the CNL role are a decrease in patient fall and fall injury rates, improved patient satisfaction scores, decrease in blood culture contamination rates, improved staff handoff communication, improved results of core measure data, and everyday staff gratitude of the CNL presence.”

– Patricia Baker, MSN, RN-BC, CNL

“The CNL is the thread that binds the healthcare team and the client through defragmentation of care, lateral integration, and coordination of the client plan of care. The CNL raises the bar of clinical practice through modeling and mentoring.”

–Mary Stachowiak, MSN, RN, CNL

The demand for CNLs is justified: They are creating the path to a stronger healthcare system.

Take your next step toward healthcare leadership with an online MSN with CNL track from Queens University of Charlotte.