Leading Initiatives

What is CNL Certification?

Share |

What is CNL Certification?

The purpose of the CNL Certification is to create a unique credential for graduates of master's and post-master's CNL programs.  Candidates who meet all eligibility requirements and pass the CNL Certification Examination will earn the credential of “CNL”.

The CNL certification is based upon a national standard of requisite knowledge and experiences, thereby assisting employers, the public and members of the health professions in the assessment of a CNL.

The CNL is a master’s-prepared clinician certified by the Commission on Nurse Certification. Graduate education is necessary because the CNL must bring a high level of clinical competence and knowledge to the point of care and serve as a resource for the nursing team. In practice, the CNL oversees the care coordination and integration of care for a distinct group of patients. This master's degree-prepared clinician puts evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risk, and has the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. The CNL is a leader and active member of the interdisciplinary health care team. The implementation of the CNL role will vary across health care settings.

The CNL Trademark

"CNL" is a registered trademark of AACN with the Patent and Trademark Office. AACN also holds service marks for both “Clinical Nurse Leader” and “Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination.” The registered trademark and service marks appear in marketing materials, and certified CNLs may use the trademark in their credentials. The CNL acronym may only be used to describe clinicians who are CNL credentialed and programs that reflect the AACN white paper on The Education and Role of the Clinical Nurse Leader. This paper is posted online at http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/white-papers/cnl.

Use of CNL Logo, Credential, and Term