CNL Summit

A national forum for all healthcare and academic audiences currently implementing or interested in exploring CNL education and practice.


AACN is offering the CNL Summit and the Masterís Education Conference during the same week to provide greater opportunities for learning, discussion and networking among peers.

The CNL Summit provides a national forum for all healthcare and academic audiences currently implementing or interested in exploring CNL education and practice. Conference topics generally include the impact and value of the CNL role on improving patient outcomes, implementing and sustaining the CNL role across diverse systems of care, the CNL role in quality and safety initiatives, innovations in education, and the complementary relationship between the CNL and other members of the healthcare team, including nurse managers, APRNs, and physicians. In addition to plenary sessions, concurrent, abstract, and poster presentations allow participants to choose topics of interest in a smaller forum. Special forums for CNL faculty and nursing/healthcare executives also are offered.

Who Should Attend?

All healthcare and academic audiences currently focused on implementing and/or exploring CNL education and practice to share, network, and learn together.  Chief Nursing Officers, nurse managers, other healthcare administrators and practitioners, deans, faculty, practicing CNLs, and students are encouraged to attend.  


The Summit features the CNL Research Symposium, a four hour pre-conference workshop hosted by the Commission on Nurse Certification that focuses on the CNLís role in data collection and evaluation for reporting clinical outcomes. The CNL Research Symposium is scheduled for the morning of February 21, 2018. (Separate registration required.). This workshop unites educators, practicing CNLs, students, healthcare administrators, nurse executives, physicians, financial officers and others. Participants will also earn CE hours.

Hotel Information

Hyatt Regency Orange County
11999 Harbor Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Phone: 714-750-1234

  • The room rate starts at $179 single/double.
  • The cutoff date for reservations at the group rate is January 29, 2018.
  • To make reservations, please call the hotel at 1-888-233-1234 and request the group rate for AACN/CNL/Masterís Education Conference. You may also place your reservation online.
  • The room block may fill before the deadline, so please make your reservation early.

If/when the room block fills, AACN will post a list of alternative hotel on its website.

Click here to purchase specially-priced Disneylandģ Resort Theme Park tickets.

These special ticket prices are not available once you arrive at the Resort.
Our ticket store closes at 9:00 PM PST on Sunday, Feb 18, 2018.
Don't delay! Prices are subject to change without notice.

The Hyatt Regency offers a shuttle service to Downtown Disney at the cost of $6.00 per person for an all-day pass. The shuttle leaves every half hour.


John Wayne Airport- Orange County (SNA) is approximately 13 miles from the hotel. Taxi fare is approximately $45 each way. Shuttle service is also available through Super Shuttle (reservation required) and the fare is approximately $11 each way.

Long Beach Airport (LGB) is approximately 18 miles from the hotel. Taxi fare is approximately $70 each way. Shuttle service is also available through Super Shuttle (reservation required) and the fare is approximately $35 each way.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is approximately 35 miles from the hotel. Taxi fare is approximately $120 each way. Shuttle service is also available through Super Shuttle (reservation required) and the fare is approximately $17 each way. Self-parking is available for $27.00 per day, and valet parking is available for $27.00 per day.

Above rates are subject to change.

Continuing Education Credit

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Centerís (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation.

Continuing nursing education (CNE) hours will be awarded to those who attest to attendance at entire sessions and complete the electronic evaluation process after the meeting. The CNE certificate will be provided online only after completion of evaluation.

Dietary and Special Needs

If you have any dietary restrictions (e.g., vegetarian, kosher, or gluten-free) or special needs, please email us prior to the event at

Contact Information

655 K Street, NW, Suite 750
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-463-6930

Wednesday, February 21

Thursday, February 22

Friday, February 23

8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Registration Desk and Networking Lounge Open

1:45-2:45 p.m.
Welcome Session
National Update on the CNL Initiative and Award Presentations

  • Update on the CNL National Initiative, CNL Certification & CNL Clinical Experiences

  • CNL Vanguard Award

  • CNL Educator Award

2:45-3:45 p.m.
Opening Plenary Session
Hardwiring the CNL into a Complex Healthcare Environment

This speaker has lead the continued transformation of a complex healthcare system by integrating the CNL throughout the care delivery model, including home health, outpatient offices, hospice, and population health. What are her goals and how is she doing this. Lessons learned. Being flexible and adaptable in times of change.
Speaker: Jill Case-Wirth, MHA, BSN, RN, Senior Vice President & Chief Nurse Executive at WellStar Health System.

3:45-4:15 p.m.
Snack Break
Complimentary cold drinks and healthy snacks are available.

4:15-5:30 p.m.
Plenary Session
Innovative Leadership and Evidence-Based Innovation: Is this an Oxymoron

High performing organizations must be competent in innovation and improvement. In order to combine these “oil and water” skills, leaders must have new skill sets to bring diverse teams together. Innovative leaders using evidence-based innovation is how organizations will thrive as healthcare evolves.
Speaker: Daniel Weberg, PhD, MHI, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing Innovation at Kaiser Permanente

5:30-5:45 p.m.
Stretch Break

5:45-6:45 p.m.
CNL Special Forums

  • CNL Program Faculty/Deans/Directors

  • Nursing Management/Administrative Executives, CNLs in Practice, and students

Nurse educators, administrators, and practicing CNLs have the opportunity to explore mutual issues and future directions, so bring your burning questions and hear what others are thinking and doing to address them. All are welcome.


7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Registration Networking Lounge and Learning Center Open

7:30-9:00 a.m.
Light Continental Breakfast

7:45 -8:45 a.m.
CNLA Meeting
(Open to CNLA members & non-members)
(Bring your breakfast)

8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Exhibits Open
Our exhibit hall is open all day. Vendors have been carefully selected to address current needs in graduate nursing education. Be sure to stop by and explore innovative products, services and much more!

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Learning Labs
These sessions are complimentary and no pre-registration is required. You may select two topics. All topics repeat 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

  • Innovation/Technology in Education and Practice
    Session will focus on innovations and new technologies in healthcare and education. The speaker will share his research and work in robotics, mobile technologies, patient sensors, and monitoring devices. CNLs are generating new ideas in practice. How does one develop their own ideas and who might they work with to advance these innovations?
    Speakers: Ryan Shaw, PhD, MS, BSN, Associate Professor, Duke University School of Nursing & Nursing Faculty Representative to the Duke University Entrepreneurship Initiative.

  • The CNL Leadership Journey: Theories, Evidence and Strategies
    In this session, participants will learn about the development of leadership identity and leadership practices of the CNL. The panelists will discuss pertinent leadership theories, examine the CNL novice-to expert concept that is emerging from ongoing CNL research and suggest education and clinical strategies to facilitate a smooth CNL leadership journey.
    Speaker: Marci Horowitz, DNP, RN, CNL , Fletcher Jones Foundation Endowed Chair for Nursing Quality and Safety,
    Director, Health Systems Leadership;

    Miriam Bender, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Program in Nursing Science, University of California, Irvine.          

  • How the CNL Skill Set Impacts Diverse Areas of Practice
    A panel of CNLs, representing long-term skilled care, an emergency department, ambulatory care, and public health, will discuss how using the CNL skill set has impacted their area of practice, what they do as CNLs, and outcomes of their practice.
    Panelists: Rachel Gustafson, MSN, RN, CNL, Emergency Department at Rush Oak Park Hospital;
    Lisa Keyzer, MSN, RN, CNL, WellStar Population Health;
     Jesse Kleinjan, MSN, RN, CNL, Rush Oak Hospital;
    Gail Nielson, MSN, RN, CCM, CNL, WellStar Population Health Management.  

  • The CNL and Care Coordination Across the Care Continuum
    This session will address shortfalls that are impacting emerging care delivery models. The CNL provides nursing leadership and innovative approaches that are keys to addressing these shortfalls and improving care coordination and outcomes across the care continuum.
    Speakers: Rachel Start, RN, MSN, NE-BC, Director of Ambulatory Nursing Practice and Management at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

  • Using Clinical Analytics and Data to Make the Business Case for CNL
    This session will address how the CNL can and should use data to evaluate the impact of evidence-based practice changes and outcomes of care. Using data effectively will help to cut costs and improve outcomes. Application of analytics in real time will establish with confidence the best practices that deliver best outcomes. By using clinical analytics, CNLs can create the case for change, tell the story of improvement, capture the value added by making decisions informed by evidence and data, and build a strong and sustainable program of improvement.
    Mary Terhaar, DNSc, RN, ANEF, FAAN, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, The Arline H. and Curtis Garvin Professor in Nursing Excellence at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

  • An Entrepreneur’s Vision Becomes Reality: Post Katrina
    Entrepreneurship requires one to possess multiple skills and competencies including vision, optimism, creativity, and open-mindedness. The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina resulted in the construction of a new medical center and redesigned care delivery that includes CNLs at the point of care. This session stresses this CNL’s vision and entrepreneurship as well as provides an overview of the process and value of CNLs from a Nurse Executive’s perspective.
    Speakers: Sharon LoVato, MSN,RN,CNL, Southeastern Louisiana Veterans Health Care System;
    Brinda Williams-Morgan, MN, RN, CNS, VHA-CM Associate Director of Patient Care Service/Nurse Executive Southeastern Louisiana Veterans Health Care System; and
    James L. Harris, PhD, APRN-BC,MBA,CNL,FAAN, Professor of Nursing at the University of South Alabama.

  • CNLs not in a Formal “CNL” Role: What are They Doing and What are Their Job Titles
    This session will focus on the roles and practice of CNLs throughout the health system that are not hired in an official “CNL position”. The speaker will present research on 459 CNLs and address the questions: To what extent are these CNLs engaging in CNL competency-based activities? Does what they are doing vary by job title?
    Speaker: Jacqueline Clavo-Hall, PhD, JD, CRNA, CNL, Assistant professor & Assistant Director, Touro University California, School of Nursing

  • Preparing for the Clinical Nurse LeaderSM (CNL®)Certification Exam
    As the number of CNL education programs and graduates throughout the country continues to grow, it is critical for CNL students and faculty to know how to prepare for the CNL Certification Exam. Earning the CNL credential reflects a deep personal commitment and sense of accountability, inspiring credibility and confidence in a CNLs professional knowledge. This session will include an overview of the CNL certification exam, as well as its administration and development. Participants will also learn effective methods of how to review and prepare for the exam.
    Speakers: Shantal Hall, Director, Commission on Nursing Certification, Washington, DC;
    Cyndy King, PhD, NP, MSN, CNL, FAAN, Owner & Consultant, Special Care Consultants

  • Onboarding the CNL into Practice
    This session will consider how developmental frameworks are important for onboarding or integrating the CNL graduate into practice in the microsystem. Participants will identify important elements of practice development and explore how the use of a practice development model can enhance performance of both CNLs and the microsystem. Implications for research, practice/education partnerships, and healthcare policy will be discussed.
    Speaker: Marjory (Micki) Williams, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Associate Chief Nurse, Research, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

10:15-10:45 a.m.
Refreshment Break
Complimentary coffee and tea are available in the exhibit hall.

10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Learning labs (repeated)

12:00-2:00 p.m.
Lunch (on your own) and visit exhibits

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m
Welcome & Opening Plenary Sessions for Joint CNL Summit and Master’s Education Conference
Improving the Work is the Work

Improving the work of nurses and the rest of the healthcare team needs to become part of the work of front-line nurses. This will be led in many settings by CNLs and other master’s prepared nurses. In this presentation Dr. Needleman, a nationally recognized health workforce researcher, will discuss the economics of nursing and workforce needs as well as the skills and organizational support needed from front-line nurses to fully engage in process and quality improvement. Based on his work and national policy perspectives he will highlight the significant policy and education implications for the nursing profession.
Speaker: Jack Needleman, PhD, FAAN, Department Chair of Health Policy and Management, University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health.

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Refreshment Break
Complimentary cold drinks and healthy snacks are available in the exhibit hall.

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Joint Plenary Session
Clinical Transformation in Quality and Safety and Nursing Leadership

 The structure of healthcare in the US is on the brink of significant system transformation, and clinical nurses in leadership are uniquely positioned to contribute to these important shifts. Quality and safety in healthcare has been significantly impacted by the leadership demonstrated by nursing in both the hospital and the academic setting. This presentation explores clinical and educational trends that will be most responsive to impending shifts in healthcare payer models, the accelerated pace of care across settings and increasing complexity in healthcare environments and on healthcare teams. Dr. Armstrong leads interprofessional teams of clinicians focusing on systems leadership, process improvement and patient safety and is uniquely positioned to speak on how quality and safety has clinically transformed the healthcare environment and the leadership necessary to effect change.  
Speaker: Gail Armstrong, PhD, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CNE, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado in the College of Nursing.

5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Welcome to Anaheim Networking Reception, Exhibits, and Poster Presentations
Our opening reception provides a great forum to network, mingle with friends and colleagues, talk with our poster presenters, and visit the exhibits. There is no better way to kick off both conferences than by attending this event.


8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.      
Registration Open

8:00-9:00 a.m.
Light Continental Breakfast and Poster Viewing

8:00-12:30 p.m.
Exhibits Open

8:30-11:00 a.m.
Abstract Presentations (See separate schedule)
This is AACN’s version of TED Talks. Presenters have 20 minutes to get their key points across, the audience has five minutes to ask questions, and the last five minutes of each time slot are used strictly as a passing period in order to attend the next session of interest.

11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Network Break

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Closing CNL Summit Plenary Session
Leading in Times of Uncertainity

This session will focus on the valuable skill set that CNLs bring to lead and make changes in health care during these uncertain times. Dr. Karshmer truly understands the importance and value CNLs bring to healthcare systems. She will provide the information and motivation to equip CNLs and healthcare leaders to use the unique CNL skill set to drive healthcare transformation.
Closing Speaker:  Judith Karshmer, PhD, PHMHCNS-BC, FAAN Professor and Dean Emerita, University of San Francisco.



Registration Fees

We encourage attendees to place their conference/meeting registrations and hotel reservations at the same time. If you have reserved your room already, please register for the conference/meeting as soon as possible.

(Only one discount per person, per conference can be taken.)


  Early Bird
By January 23, 2018
After January 23, 2018
AACN Members $449 $549
Additional Registration(s) from same institution
*Applies to AACN Members only.
$419 $519
AACN Non-Members $449 $549
CNLA Members** $419 $519
CNL Grad Students*** $225 $275

**Contact AACN at to receive this discount.

*** Full-time graduate students that aren't faculty carrying 9 or more credit hours this semester may receive a 50% discount. Submit your request together with verification of your full-time student status to

For payment related questions, please contact us at

Registration for Masterís Education Conference (when also registered for the CNL Summit): $250

Substitution, Cancellation, and Refund Policies

CNL Summit

If you subsequently cannot attend this event, the following options are available:

1. You may substitute your registration to another individual within your organization. This must be done by contacting the AACN Conference Department via email at

2. If a substitution is not possible, your cancellation request must be received in writing and confirmed by AACN; otherwise, it cannot be honored. The following refund arrangements will then apply:

a. Cancellation requests received by February 7, 2018 will be refunded minus a $150 non-refundable administrative fee.
b. Cancellation requests received after February 7, 2018 will not be granted any refunds.
c. Refunds will not be given for no-shows.
d. No-show registrations with an open balance will be charged a $150 non-refundable administrative fee after the event.

Please note: Cancellations received fewer than 7 days prior to the conference start date will be reviewed and processed within two weeks after the last day of the conference.

AACN reserves the right to cancel this conference and any group activity that does not meet minimal group requirements. AACN assumes no responsibility for non-refundable airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rental, or other travel costs.

Location Information

Hyatt Regency Orange County
11999 Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim (Garden Grove), CA 92840

Get directions

Continuing Education