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clinical nurse leader, CNL, healthy work environments



  1. Sherman, Rose O. EdD, RN, NEA-BC, CNL
  2. Edwards, Barbara MSN, CMSRN, CNL
  3. Giovengo, Karen MSN, RN, CNL
  4. Hilton, Nancy MN, RN, NEA-BC


Although there is growing evidence about the link between a healthy work environment and improved patient outcomes, the achievement of the standards promoted by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has proved challenging for organizations in today's often turbulent healthcare environment. One innovative approach to promote healthy work environments at the unit level has been the utilization of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role. This article provides an overview of the CNL role and a case study illustrating how 1 medical center is utilizing the CNL role to promote a healthy work environment at the unit level. Their experience demonstrates that CNLs have the ability to transform the care environment in a manner that elevates professional nursing practice, ensures quality outcomes, complies with core measures, and creates an environment in which nurses feel supported and empowered.