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Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

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

Learn more about the CNL 



News & Announcements

  • New CNL Database Coming Soon!

    May 8, 2019

    We have some exciting news for our Clinical Nurse Leaders, CNL students, CNL faculty and customers! CNC will be integrating to a new CNL database by Wednesday, May 29, 2019 to provide even better quality service. In order to make this a smooth transition, we will be taking our old database out of service from Tuesday, May 21st through Tuesday, May 28th and you will not be able to apply for the exam, renew certification or submit payment. Learn more.

  • CNC Call for Volunteers

    December 1, 2018

    The Commission on Nurse Certification is now accepting applications for four available positions on the CNC Board of Commissioners (CNCBOC), one position on the Marketing Committee and eight positions on the Item Writers Committee. CNCBOC and Item Writer positions require a three-year commitment. Marketing Committee positions require a two-year commitment. Click here to download the guidelines and application or contact CNC’s Staff at for more information.

  • New CNCBOC & Committee Members

    June 7, 2018

    Join CNC in congratulating and welcoming new members of the CNC Board of Commissioners, the Marketing Committee and the Item Writers Committee!


Upcoming Conferences
CNL Summit CNL Summit

February 20-22, 2020

CNL Research Symposium CNL Research Symposium

February 20, 2020