Breast cancer remains a global public health problem that consistently challenges oncology nurses and interdisciplinary healthcare professionals to reduce mortality, increase length and meaningfulness of survivorship, or alleviate discomfort if longevity is not a possibility. Although significant progress has been achieved, a fragmented, complex healthcare system has stimulated the creation of new paradigms, roles, and leadership initiatives. One emerging and multifaceted nursing role, the clinical nurse leader (CNL), has been developed to use evidence-based practice and identify gaps in quality of care delivery, coordination, and management for a specific population of patients. CNLs improve organizational effectiveness and optimize client outcomes by working with frontline teams at the level of the clinical microsystem (Harris & Roussel, 2010). Because quality and continuous performance improvement are the catalysts for transforming care, oncology nursing must incorporate this new leadership role to inspire professional development and address the six quality aims defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (Rose, Stovall, Ganz, Desch, & Hewitt, 2008) (see Table 1). This article will introduce the CNL role and describe a CNL-led project that enabled a breast center's national accreditation by integrating quality improvement interventions into comprehensive breast cancer care.
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