Clinical Nursing + Salary, Careers & Jobs Outlook

by NurseJournal Staff
• 1 min read

The clinical nurse leader is a fairly new role that was developed by the AACN to boost patient care quality and to prepare nurses to thrive.

The clinical nurse leader is a new role in nursing in recent years that was developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to boost patient care quality and to prepare nurses to thrive in the more complex health care world. The clinical nurse leader role is designed for nurses who want to make positive changes in nursing, but still work at the clinical point of care. This leadership role will help you to make a real difference in the clinical world, and also provide leadership to others to gain important nursing skills.

YouTube Special Feature

Webinar on the Clinical Nurse Leader Role

A clinical nurse leader oversees the entire care picture for a certain set of patients, and also oversees the entire medical team that is working with that set of patients. With doctors, social workers, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, a clinical nurse leader will incorporate the very latest technologies into treatment plans to provide patients with the highest level of care possible.

Some of the many roles of the clinical nurse leader include:

  • Clinician

  • Outcomes manager

  • Client advocate

  • Educator

  • Information manager

  • Systems analyst

  • Team manager

Where Clinical Nurse Leaders Work

A clinical nurse leader, like clinical nurse specialists, may work in all types of health care organizations, such as hospitals, outpatient care centers, and home health care. A clinical nurse leader works most often in private or public hospitals, but they also can work in the following places:

  • Specialized doctor’s offices

  • ERs

  • Nursing homes

  • Geriatric facilities

  • Psychiatric care facilities

  • Community centers

  • Health care facilities

  • Colleges

  • Laboratories

Job Opportunities & Salary Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that employment for registered nurses will increase by 26% by 2020. BLS and many state agencies expect the demand in nursing to stay high for many years. This is because the American population is getting older, but living longer and healthier lives. They expect to have a higher level of health care than people in the past.

BLS also notes that it expects demand in nursing to be highest in the advanced practice nursing professions, one of which is clinical nurse specialists/leaders.

BLS reports that the median salary for nurses is $64,700. The top 10% earn as much as $95,100 per year. We expect that clinical nurse leaders, with their higher level of training, will earn towards the higher end of the wage scale in most locations. reports that the median salary in the field is $89,300. Also, reports that the average salary for clinical nurse leaders is $89,000:


Requirements to Become

Over 90% of clinical nurse specialists and leaders have a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). You need to first be a registered nurse with several years of work experience before you can be accepted into a MSN program with a concentration in clinical nurse leadership. Some master’s degree programs will require you to do original research, and to possibly document the research in thesis.

Quick Links is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Popular Resources

Resources and articles written by professionals and other nurses like you.