A Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is expected to have a master’s degree level of education or higher. CNLs play an active role in “designing, implementing and evaluating client care by coordinating, delegating and supervising the care proved by a healthcare team at the clinical level, as opposed to the administrative level, as is the case with other nursing leadership roles” (GNE, 2018, para. 4). CNLs must be competent and knowledgeable as a part of the nursing team. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) board acknowledges that the role of the CNL is multi-faceted and their education needs to have components of liberal arts and sciences, professional values, core competencies, core knowledge, and role development (GNE, 2018). CNLs should prepared in quality improvement, interdisciplinary team care, patient-centered care, evidence-based practice and the utilization of informatics (GNE, 2018). Clinical nurse leadership education focuses on policy and organization, nursing leadership, outcomes management, and care management. After completing a CNL education program, to be CNL certified a registered nurse, must hold a current NR license, hold a master’s degree, complete a minimum of 400 clinical hours within their formal education program, and complete a minimum of 300 clinical hour in a clinical immersion experience in the CNL role (GNE, 2018). CNLs are expected to be educated in advanced nursing knowledge to provide the best care, while improving patient outcomes with the latest innovations in health care.
A CNL can address minority health issues in health care. For example, a CNL overseeing the care of diabetic patients on a hospital unit may notice some discrepancies in outcomes. The CNL works as a leader to evaluate the patients, to see if there is a relationship between ethnicity-related issues and outcomes. The CNL can review the literature to see if this clinical issue has been previously identified within this particular minority patient population. Then, the CNL can develop and implement a plan of care to improve health outcomes for those patients.