Leading Initiatives

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

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The Clinical Nurse LeaderSM or CNL® is a master’s educated nurse, prepared for practice across the continuum of care within any healthcare setting. The CNL was developed by AACN in collaboration with leaders from healthcare practice and education to address the critical need to improve the quality of patient care outcomes.

The CNL is a clinical leader - at the point of care – who focuses on:  

- Care Coordination - Outcomes Measurement
- Transitions of Care - Interprofessional Communication & Team Leadership
- Risk Assessment - Implementation of Best Practices Based on Evidence
- Quality Improvement  



News & Announcements

Accepting Applications for the 2017 CNL Vanguard Awards
AACN and CNC are currently accepting applications for the CNL Vanguard Award and for the CNL Educator Vanguard Award. The deadline to apply is October 28, 2016. Learn more about how to apply.

CNL Certification Exam Pass Score Update
CNL Subject Matter Experts along with CNC's testing vendor completed the item writing workshop and approved a new form for the CNL Certification Exam. The exam is still comprised of 140 questions, of which 130 are scored (10 questions are used as pre-test questions). As of April 25, 2016, the new exam passing score is 89. Learn more about the CNL Certification Exam Pass Score.

CNL Job Analysis
CNC along with Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc. will begin the CNL Job Analysis process April 11-12, 2016 in Clearwater, Florida. The CNCBOC has approved 12 CNLs as members of the Job Analysis Committee. The Job Analysis Survey will be released May 2016 and will close July 2016. The final Job Analysis Report and updated Exam Content Outline will be made available in Fall 2016. A new CNL exam based on the updated Exam Content Outline will be administered in Spring 2017.

AACN Awards CNL Visionary Leader and Vanguard Awards
AACN is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 CNL Visionary Leader and Vanguard Award.