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 Multiple Roles of the CNL

Research has shown that even a modified CNL role has helped patient care avoid segmentation and bridge gaps between various departments (Smith, Hagos et al., 2006). A pilot study by Smith, Hagos et al. (2006) demonstrated that CNLs are able to develop a constant relationship with the entire nursing team, patients, and families while enhancing open communication. Research ers have also found that most of the chief nursing officers interviewed in a Florida cohort reported they see improvements in patient care, organization, professional development, and professional relationships through the use of CNLs (Sherman, 2008). Stanley et al. (2008) found that the addition of a CNL residency increased quality of care, decreased fall rates, and improved pain management. Increased patient satisfaction in nurse response time to calls and overall nursing care was also reported. Conversely, when CNL residents were removed from the unit, fall rates increased, pain management was less controlled, and patient satisfaction decreased (Stanley et al., 2008). Furthermore, the study found that physicians reported feeling more informed about their patients' situations when cared for by a CNL (Smith, Manfredi, Hagos, Drummond-Huth, & Moore, 2006). If one group of individuals is feeling more informed, then multiple other members of the team, including family members, may also feel more informed with the implementation of the CNL role.

Stanley and colleagues (2008) found that CNL role competencies listed in the White Paper (AACN, 2007) were achieved throughout the CNL residency. CNL role competencies reflect the nine role dimensions listed above (such as team manager, educator). Competencies were achieved through different means and to different degrees in each case study presented in this article.


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