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AACN Recognizes Excellence at 2023 Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Summit

Published February 14, 2023

Awards will be presented at the CNL Summit February 23.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) are pleased to announce the latest winners of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) awards, which recognize exceptional CNLs in practice, education, and vision. This year's honorees are Jeanne Bernier, MSN, RN, CNL of Mississippi College (CNL Educator Award), and Chrissy Bass, MSN, RN, CNL of Atriium Health Carolinas Medical Center (CNL Vanguard Award). Additionally, Robert Rose, MS, RN, NEA-BC of Atrium Health will be presented the CNL Visionary Award for providing leadership for the advancement of the CNL. All awards will be presented during the opening session of the CNL Summit on February 23 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The Clinical Nurse Leader is an evolving role developed by AACN in collaboration with leaders from education and practice to improve the quality of patient care and better prepare nurses to thrive in any setting where healthcare is delivered. These clinicians evaluate patient outcomes, identify risk, coordinate care, and implement quality improvement strategies to ensure patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery.

2023 CNL Visionary Award Winner

Headshot of Robert RoseRobert Rose is the market chief nurse executive for the central division of Atrium Health. He oversees more than 3,500 nurses at Atrium Health's flagship hospital Carolinas Medical Center as well as Levine Children's Hospital, Levine Cancer Center, Mercy Hospital, and affiliated clinics. A long-time CNL supporter and advocate, Robert has helped advance the CNL to where it is today and develop many nurse leaders following him. He has mentored many new CNLs, not only those at Atrium, who are now leading institutions of their own in a diverse range of roles and are creating new opportunities for CNLs. Robert has always been very clear that the foundation of the work they do is the CNL. He currently serves as chair of the American Heart Association Committee on Clinical Leadership and on AACN's CNL Competency Work Group, and has served on the CNL Summit Planning Committee for the past two years.

2023 CNL Educator Award Winner

Headshot of Jeanne BernierJeanne Bernier is the CNL program director at Mississippi College and served as a team member in achieving accreditation of the first CNL program in the state. Jeanne is active in pedagogy creation, including working with students as they plan and initiate quality improvement projects in their respective work environments across several healthcare systems. She works with these students from the onset of their projects through the completion of the capstone CNL course. Her promotion of the CNL includes writing several SARA agreements for student mobility across states in the southeast US and working closely with preceptors to mentor students in the CNL role and with practice partners to promote those roles within their facilities.

2023 CNL Vanguard Award Winner

Headshot of Chrissy BassChrissy Bass is a CNL at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center, where she has made strides in stroke patient-care efficiency, mobility promotion, and VTE reduction. At a time when 35% of stroke patients at her hospital were not being treated on the stroke floor, Chrissy stepped forward to identify ways to relocate patients to units where they could be best cared for. She worked with senior leadership to develop Intracranial Hemorrhage pathways for stroke patients and developed a group of Stroke Navigators to aid the flow of patient identification. By the end of the year, only 5% of stroke patients were identified not on the stroke floor. Additionally, when the increased need for mobility embedded in hospital culture was identified, Chrissy worked to develop and educate mobility champions across multiple areas of care to decrease hospital events such as falls, pressure injuries, and VTE. As a result, hospital data showed a direct correlation with VTE reductions, and her specific unit saw length of stay reductions and a twofold increase in mobility.

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