Implementation of the Clinical Nurse Leader Role in the Veterans Health Administration

Academic Article


  • The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) led implementation of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role nationally with the goal to meet system needs for strong clinical leadership across all settings. After a decade of CNL role implementation, the VHA supported this evaluation to determine the current state, the successes, the challenges, and the fidelity to the original intent of the role. The team used mixed methods to evaluate the state of the CNL initiative. Ten evaluation activities were undertaken including a facility survey directed toward chief nurse executives at all VHA facilities, and a second survey directed at registered nurses who completed a CNL graduate program, were certified as a CNL, or were currently enrolled in a CNL graduate program. The evaluation results suggest the CNL initiative had not yet accomplished the stated goals to improve cost and financial outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, increase staff satisfaction and retention, improve quality and internal processes, and facilitate practice model transformation including evidence-based practice and collaborative, interdisciplinary practice across the system. Observed CNL practices within the VHA could serve as exemplars for developing a care delivery model that could achieve these goals and offer potential paths to move this role forward.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Miltner RS; Haddock KS; Patrician PA; Williams M
  • Start Page

  • 257
  • End Page

  • 267
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 3