Pioneering a new role: the beginning, current practice and future of the Clinical Nurse Leader.

Document Type


Publication Date



Nursing, Surgery, Pediatric

Journal Title

Journal of nursing management

MeSH Headings

Humans, Leadership, Nurse Administrators, Nurse's Role, Nursing, Supervisory, Program Evaluation, United States


AIM: To discuss the development of a new nursing role in response to the health care crisis in the United States.

BACKGROUND: The nursing shortage and fragmentation of care has contributed to the need for nurses who are prepared to laterally integrate care, bring evidence-based practice to the bedside and provide continuity of care to patients and families.

EVALUATION: The CNLs review the literature, share their experiences, and discuss outcomes related to improved quality of care.

KEY ISSUES: Having clinical nurses with a global perspective acting as facilitators and integrators of care is essential to maintaining a high standard of care. Organizational and management support is critical. The more CNLs that can be embedded in an institution, the more successful the role can be.

CONCLUSIONS: The varied utilization of the CNLs in this practice setting has proven its value in a short period of time and facilitated better communication and collaboration among patients and their health care team.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: The flexibility and broad scope of this role allows for its use in any practice setting to realize gains in quality outcomes, cost savings, improved patient flow, increased safety, nurse satisfaction and increasing organizational capacity.



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