Bridging the Gap in Care for Children Through the Clinical Nurse Leader

Erin L. O'Grady, Brigit VanGraafeiland


Pediatr Nurs. 2012;38(3):155-158, 167. 

In This Article

The CNL Role

A CNL is a master's prepared, entry-level, generalized nurse. The CNL assumes accountability for patient outcomes through coordination, supervision, and appropriate delegation (AACN, 2007). CNLs are unit-based; they look at the entirety of care for each patient and each cohort, and therefore, are in a position to see the entirety of care. The CNL is ideal for addressing communication gaps, facilitating effective hand-offs, and promoting microsystems in which fragmentation of care is minimized (Begun, Hamilton, Tornabeni, & White, 2006). According to AACN (2007), graduates of CNL programs will be prepared to "implement outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies… remain in and contribute to the profession, practicing at their full scope of education and ability…and create and manage microsystems of care that will be responsive to the health care needs of individuals and families" (p. 5).

Further, the CNL will serve in a clinical leadership role across all health care settings. Through the immersion of the CNL role, there will be more effective problem solving, better care coordination, stronger relationships between disciplines, and quicker execution of evidence-based practice (Sherman, 2008). To achieve these goals, the CNL role includes nine broad dimensions: 1) team manager, 2) educator, 3) client advocate, 4) clinician, 5) outcomes manager, 6) information manager, 7) systems ana- lyst/risk anticipator, 8) member of a profession, and 9) lifelong learner. Communication with other members of the health care team is a large aspect of each of these dimensions.


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