Celebrating Certified Clinical Nurse Leader Day March 17, 2017

What is a Clinical Nurse Leader?

A Clinical Nurse Leader is a master’s educated nurse, prepared to address increasing expectations for high quality and value health care by influencing the way health care is delivered. As systems thinkers and change agents, Clinical Nurse Leaders practice across the continuum of care in all health care settings, making a measurable impact on health care delivery and patient care.

What does a Clinical Nurse Leader Focus On?

  • Care coordination
  • Transitions of care
  • Risk assessment
  • Quality improvement
  • Interprofessional communication and team leadership
  • Implementation of best practices based on evidence 

Read the stories of three UR Nursing graduates and see how the CNL enabled them to pursue their professional passions and advance their careers:

CNL Spotlight: Luis Rosario-McCabe, MS, RN, WHNP-BC, CNL

Louie left the sunny skies of his home state of California more than 30 years ago to study opera at the Eastman School of Music. But he knew, deep down, that he wanted to be a nurse.

Louie chose to follow his heart, and now, he's a senior nurse practitioner and a professor here at the school. In 2015, Louie graduated with his CNL degree, and this spring, he'll earn his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. He credits the CNL program for getting him to where he is today.

"as soon as i took my first cnl course, i thought, this is amazing. this is what i needed in my career - to get to places i never imagined i wanted to be. for me, it shifted the focus of my career to population health, instead of just my panel of patients."
"Now, i'm looking at the bigger picture and i'm more involved in issues that i'm passionate about. for example, i'm working at the state level to help create a health care system that is lgbt-friendly and to improve transgender individuals' access to care. that's something i never would be doing without the cnl program."

CNL Spotlight: Jennifer Carey, MS, RNC, CNL

"being there when new life is brought into this world is amazing. The opportunity to guide a family through the challenging journey of labor, to witness the miracle of birth, and empower parents: the role of the obstetric nurse is an honorable experience."

Jennifer has always been passionate about her role as an Ob/Gyn nurse. But when a leadership position opened up in her unit at the Birth Center, she was initially hesitant about taking it on.


Jennifer thrived in her role as a nurse manager, and decided she wanted to pursue her leadership aspirations even further. To take that next step, she enrolled in the CNL program. That decision has paid off - she's since been promoted to a new position as the assistant associate director of Ob/Gyn nursing at Strong Memorial Hospital.

"The cnl program is what gave me the opportunity to grow into my leadership position and become passionate about evidence-based practice. I used to shy away from the word ‘research.’ But now, I look at it as a way for us to improve the way we care for our patients and solve some of the issues we face on a daily basis."

CNL Spotlight: Robert Dorman, MS, RN-BC, CCRN, C-NPT, CNL

You can tell just by looking at Bob's tie: he loves working with kids.

When Bob started nursing school in the 1980s, he wasn't sure what field he wanted to pursue. But after his first pediatrics rotation, he was hooked - and he hasn't looked back since.

Having worked as a staff nurse, in the pediatric intensive care unit, and as a professor at the school, Bob began looking for a way to have a bigger impact on the care of children.

"The clinical nurse leader program was the perfect pathway to advancing my career. it allowed me to get a better view of the big picture of the health care system and broadened my perspective."

After Bob earned his CNL degree, the pediatric trauma program manager position opened up at Golisano Children's Hospital. The job seemed made for a CNL graduate with decades of pediatric and critical care experience - it had Bob's name written all over it.

In his new role, Bob puts the skills he gained as a CNL student to work everyday - and in the spring, he'll graduate with his DNP degree.

"Now, i can see much more clearly how my cnl education relates to my current job. I oversee the quality of care of pediatric trauma patients transitioning from prevention to EMergency medical services to the hospital to rehabilitation, and i think that defines what a CNL should be doing."

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