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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



AACN Recognizes Excellence in Clinical Nurse Leader Practice

Published February 14, 2022

Awards Will Be Presented at Virtual CNL Summit on February 17

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2022 – 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) Vanguard Award, which recognizes exceptional CNLs in practice. This year’s honorees are Lauren Salinas, MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN from the Texas Children's Hospital, and Sorayah Bourenane, MSN, RN, CEN, CNL from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Both award winners will be presented during the opening session of the virtual CNL Summit for February 17-19, 2022.

“Certified Clinical Nurse Leaders are having a great impact in both patient care settings and in learning institutions,” said AACN President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Deborah Trautman. “AACN commends the work of Lauren Salinas and Sorayah Bourenane for their contributions to improving patient outcomes and their expertise in the field.”

The Clinical Nurse Leader is an evolving nursing 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 today’s healthcare system in any setting. These master’s-prepared clinicians put evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL evaluates patient outcomes, identifies risk, coordinates care, and implements quality improvement strategies. 

The CNL Vanguard Award was introduced in 2012 by AACN and CNC (the autonomous agency charged with overseeing the CNL certification process) to recognize a certified CNL for innovative and outstanding professional performance and advocacy of the CNL skill set. In addition, the award promotes the contributions of the CNL in transforming health care. 

2022 CNL Vanguard Award Winners

Lauren SalinasLauren Salinas is a Clinical Specialist certified as a CNL at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). Since graduating as a CNL, she has worked to improve patient outcomes and the patient-family experience while in the CICU through her coordination of care, quality initiatives, and innovation at the bedside. Lauren incorporated her knowledge as a CNL to decrease central line associated bloodstream infections through her innovative quality improvement projects surrounding central line care and quality rounding. Lauren has presented her quality projects at local and national conferences. She is passionate about incorporating the CNL focus of care coordination and transitions of care into her complex patient population. 

Sorayah BourenaneSorayah Bourenane, a CNL at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center , has developed educational content and served as a subject matter expert on Oncologic Emergency Nursing for the Board of Certified Emergency Nurses. She co-authored a chapter in a medical textbook for Oncologic Emergencies and assisted in the development of the institutional sepsis program at MD Anderson, which has resulted in decreased mortality. She also serves as Speaker of the Nursing Platform for the Global Sepsis Alliance and has presented nationally and internationally on oncologic emergencies, end-of-life care in the emergency department and in-flight medical emergencies.

Congratulations to this year's award recipients! Please join us virtually at this year's CNL Summit, which will showcase CNL achievement and provide tools to enhance your understanding of the changing healthcare environment and the value added by CNLs.