1. Tornabeni, Jolene MA, RN, FAAN, FACHE
  2. Stanhope, Marica DSN, RN, FAAN
  3. Wiggins, Marjorie MBA, RN, CNAA


The membership of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in partnership with its practice partners, has initiated a national effort to create a new nursing role that is more responsive to the realities of a complex, technologically advanced, ever-changing healthcare system. This new role is the clinical nurse leader. Nurses in this new role will be prepared at the master's level and will act as lateral integrators of care, patient advocates over the many components of the continuum, as well as information manager to the multiple disciplines involved in care. Practice and education partners are working together to define the curriculum for this role and create a new care delivery model needed to maximize the skills of the clinical nurse leader and the other team members to achieve better patient outcomes. In this article, the department editor and her associates focus on the current state of healthcare, resulting educational requirements to meet the dynamic changes occurring, the curriculum for the clinical nurse leader, and how the clinical nurse leader will function in the practice setting.