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    Kaplan University - KHE

    MS in Nursing

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    Medical Careers Institute

    RN to BSN

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    Fortis Institute

    Medical Assistant

Clinical Nurse Leader

A new role developed in the nursing profession, clinical nurse leaders (CNL) coordinate and supervise the care provided by interdisciplinary team members, supervising the lateral addition of care for a precise number of patients. They work with many other specialists as well like the pharmacy professional, social person, doctors, nurse specialists and clinical nurse practitioners. This is a leadership position that encompasses several broad areas including:


    • Clinician: evaluate and deliver complete care for patients, sometimes across their lifespan. Critically evaluate risks to patient safety with the intent of avoiding medical error


    • Management of outcomes: analyse information and knowledge about patients’ outcomes for promoting health and reducing risks


    • Client advocate: ensuring the inclusion of patients’ families in planning care and ascertaining that they are well-informed


    • Educator: Teaching clients and other health care professionals with the help of appropriate principles, strategies and information, and use information systems and technology to improve healthcare outcomes


    • Team manager: Delegate and manage nursing team resources, and be a responsible partner in the interdisciplinary care team


CNLs provide the utmost care to their patients putting the latest medical technologies and innovation into practice, and also are decision makers because they are authorized to do so. The role focuses on managing complete patient care and implementing patient care plans rather than providing direct nursing care. But their role is not considered administrative, rather a part of the healthcare delivery system – the CNL assesses a patient’s special needs, and collaborates with departments responsible for delivering specific services to the patient to ensure he/she receives the attention and care required.

These practitioners are more considered generalist rather than specialists because they have advanced knowledge, experience and knowledge of general medicine apart from education and experience in a particular specialty.


• Education requirements:

Because this is a position of high responsibility, the educational requirements to become this nurse are quite stringent. Besides a Bachelor’s degree of Science in nursing (BSN) and becoming a registered nurse, CNLs are supposed to have an advanced degree such as a Master’s of Science in nursing (MSN). Students should take advanced courses in clinical assessment, pharmacology and others. After fulfilling these requirements, one becomes qualified to give the certification exam for this post administered by the Commission on Nurse Certifications (CNC), which is an autonomous arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). One becomes a CNL upon passing this certification exam.

• Job prospects and salary:

Being an advanced level position requiring a high level of training and education, the job prospects are favorable. In addition, because the role is a relatively new one, there is a lot of room for new graduates to fill available positions.


Being a new position with a relatively younger workforce, these nurses do not earn a very high salary. This is also because their role is a generalized rather than specialized one. The annual median salary hovers in the range from $55,000 to $60,000. The career path of a CNL, however, offers a lot of choices in terms of settings,

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