While a Clinical Nurse Leader can work in various settings, different roles mean different responsibilities. The most common practice areas where a CNL can be found are highlighted below. To learn more about each, navigate via the list at left.
Within a community health agency, a CNL is focused on areas such as disease transmission, health policy, and healthcare economics. Because communities differ from one another, there needs to be an understanding of various disciplines, cultures and geographical boundaries.
A CNL acts as an educator by being an information manager. Using their extensive knowledge, a CNL helps clients “acquire, interpret and use information related to health care, illness and health promotion.”
The main role of a CNL in general surgical units is to improve communication, care coordination, patient experience and patient outcome.
In this area, a CNL is expected to fill the role of an advanced generalist, which includes knowing professional and policy information, as well as delegating other nurses.
Although not typical, a CNL role is well-suited for home care. CNLs help families care for their loved ones by providing knowledge in complex discharge situations.
Responsibilities of the CNL in the ICU:
In the military, the two most common places for a CNL are in Veterans Affairs (VA) and traditional medical facilities, both at home and abroad.
At the VA, the expectations of a CNL include:
In active duty facilities, a CNL’s role is:
A CNL’s role in the private practice setting is not the same as in a public practice or hospital setting. The most predominant difference is that the private practice tends to be more intimate and personal, giving a CNL an ability to have more of a relationship with individual patients. Opportunities to connect with patient on a deeper level provide a perfect avenue for the unique skill sets of private practice CNLs.
In addition to the normal clinical and bedside nursing responsibilities, a CNL in urgent care will also assess emergency preparedness plans and coordination with local, regional and National Incident Management Systems (NIMS).