CNL Educator Award

AACN and the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) are now accepting nominations for the 2021 CNL Educator Award. This national award recognizes a CNL faculty member or education program director for innovative and outstanding preparation and advocacy of CNLs. In addition, the award promotes the contributions of the CNL faculty member in transforming nursing education and promoting innovation in both academia and practice. The 2021 recipient will be recognized during the opening session of the CNL Summit, which will be held virtually February 25-27, 2021. The nomination deadline has passed.

See past award winners >>

Award Criteria

The candidate must be nominated by a nursing colleague/co-worker, nursing supervisor, or CNL student. The candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold CNL certification from the CNC
  • Employed as a faculty member and/or program director for a CNL master’s or post-master’s CNL education program for a minimum of two years
  • Demonstrate innovative pedagogy using a variety of teaching strategies and learning experiences that facilitate CNL student learning outcomes
  • Demonstrate engagement in partnerships with practice to transform CNL education and patient care with sustainable outcomes (specific examples of outcomes should be included)
  • Demonstrate professional leadership in developing and sustaining the CNL skill set through innovative partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, e.g. other disciplines, businesses, professional organizations
  • Serve as a role model to bridge CNL education with practice by contributing positively to the professional education and practice environment
  • Promote change or collaboration within the education and practice systems to improve quality of patient care
  • Advocate for the CNL skill set at the local, state, or national levels, including publications and/or presentations
Submission Process

The application must include a criteria statement/narrative (not to exceed two pages in length) that explains how the candidate demonstrates the eligibility criteria and two letters of support from individuals other than the person submitting the application. These individuals may be from academia or practice and should describe their relationship with the CNL educator, length of time known, and how the nominee embodies the award criteria. The criteria statement/narrative and two letters of support may be submitted as an attachment.

The application for the 2021 CNL Educator Award must include the completed application form, criteria statement/narrative and two letters of support. All materials must be submitted together. The completed application and letters of support should be submitted electronically to Krisi Yosifova at

(By submitting the application, all parties consent and authorize use of the narratives as well as future photos for promotional purposes. Excerpts from the application will be read during the award presentation at the CNL Summit. Descriptions may be included in a future database of CNL best practices. It is the responsibility of the individual submitting the application to obtain permission from the nominee prior to submitting the application.)

Review and Notification Process

A review panel (two members representing AACN and one member of the CNC’s Board of Commissioners) will consider all completed applications received by the deadline. The recipient will be selected based upon the information submitted describing how the nominee meets the eligibility criteria; preference will be given to the applicant who has demonstrated innovative and effective change for care delivery and CNL education. 

Presentation of Awards

If selected, the recipient must be available to attend the 2021 virtual CNL Summit and Research Symposium and will be asked to present a 10-15 minute presentation highlighting his/her experiences, actions, and outcomes implementing and advancing the CNL. The recipient will receive their registrations waived for the 2021 CNL Summit and Research Symposium plus a $100 award, a commemorative award, and a CNL lapel pin. 




Contact Shantal H Johnson, CNC’s Director, at or Dr. Joan Stanley, AACN’s Chief Academic Officer, at