Clinical Nurse Leader: Evolution of the Role in Oncology Care

Joylyn Estrella

Hilary Sullivan

Imelda Febryani

Jessica Vaughn

Colleen Villamin

Ginny Bowman

clinical nurse leaders, clinical nurse leader role, oncology care, patient outcomes
CJON 2018, 22(4), 457-459. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.457-459

The clinical nurse leader (CNL) role has evolved since the American Association of Colleges of Nursing published a white paper on the role in 2007. Since then, various publications have evaluated the role of CNLs in enhancing quality outcomes for patients. The introduction of the CNL role in the oncology setting, although occurring with variability across the United States, provides a unique opportunity to explore the benefits of this role in cancer care outcomes.


  • This article presents a brief history of the CNL role and highlights the integration of CNLs in a comprehensive cancer center.
  • Exemplars of their quality work in this setting are highlighted, along with recommendations for implementing the CNL role in diverse cancer care settings.
  • As the CNL role continues to be refined across diverse healthcare contexts, the oncology community may benefit from the generalist approach to quality care in enhancing outcomes related to infection, falls, and patient satisfaction for individuals with cancer.
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