Background: The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is the first new role in nursing since the nurse practitioner was introduced over many years ago. The CNL evolved after the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) convened a task force to identify ways to improve quality of patient care and determine how to prepare nurses with the skills and competencies needed to thrive in the current and future healthcare system. The original task force on education developed models for nursing education and regulation. A second task force was established, and from that work, a new role emerged-the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). Aim: The aim of the present study was review the literature about the role of Clinical Nurse Leader. Method and Material: Method was used is to search in databases (PUBMED, SCOPUS) to identify articles related to the role of clinical nurse leader. The search took place in February 2011 for scientific papers until February 2011. The keywords used in combination were: clinical, nurse, leader, leadership. Results: The Clinical Nurse Leader role was developed in response to concerns about the quality and safety of nursing care in the complex, technologically advanced, ever-changing healthcare system. The CNL could be a clinician, an advanced generalist, an outcomes manager, an interdisciplinary care team manager, a patient advocate, an educator, an information manager, a member of the profession and a lifelong learner. Conclusions: The Clinical Nurse Leader role emerged following several years of research and discussion with stakeholders as a way to engage highly skilled clinicians in outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies. The CNL is an advanced generalist clinician with education at the master's degree level. The Clinical Nurse Leader is an emerging nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with an array of leaders from the practice environment. Two AACN task forces were convened to identify a) how to improve the quality of patient care and b) how to best prepare nurses with the competencies needed to thrive in the current and future health care system.