Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

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The Clinical Nurse Leader option offers individuals with a degree in another field the opportunity to become a professional nurse, obtain the tools needed to thrive in an ever-changing health care system, and reshape the quality of patient care.

Overview

Intended for students who have already earned a baccalaureate or higher degree in a field other than nursing, the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) option prepares graduates to provide direct patient care and clinical nursing leadership in hospitals, the community, long-term care facilities, the home, and other settings. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) developed the CNL role in collaboration with nurse leaders in academic and health care settings. 

Program Details

The fall admission plan of study includes four semesters and one summer session. Students admitted in the fall semester enroll in classes for four semesters and one summer. The spring admission plan of study includes four semesters and two summers. Students admitted in the spring semester may enroll in classes for four semesters and one summer or four semesters and two summers. Students choosing to enroll in both summer courses (509 and 517) in the first summer, may have the opportunity to apply for a residency or certified nursing assistant position at a health care facility for their second summer in the program.

Upon completion of the program, you’ll earn the Master of Science degree and will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX examination for licensure as a registered nurse. You are also eligible to sit for the CNL Certification Examination offered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Nurse Certification.

For more information, check out:

Fall Admission Plan of Study

This plan of study is for students entering the CNL option in fall 2014 and subsequent fall semesters. 

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NURS 501: Pathophysiological and Pharmacological Bases for Nursing Practice 5 Credits 
NURS 503: Health Assessment across the Lifespan 3 Credits
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice 4 Credits
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nursing Leadership Role 3 Credits 
Total: 15 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NURS 514: Medical-Surgical Nursing 6 Credits
NURS 625: Gerontological Nursing 2 Credits 
NRSG 782: Organizational and Systems Leadership  3 Credits 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-Based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 14 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NURS 509: Maternal and Newborn Nursing 5 Credits
NURS 517: Pediatric Nursing 5 Credits
Total: 10 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NURS 508: Community/Public Health Nursing 4 Credits 
NURS 511: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing 5 Credits
NRSG 780: Population Health and Promotion 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 15 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Emphasis Practicum 8 Credits
NURS 736: Technical Solutions Knowledge Generation in Health Care 3 Credits
Total: 11 Credits
TOTAL 65 CREDITS (4 Semesters/1 Summer Session) 

Spring Admission Plan of Study Option 1

This plan of study is for students entering the CNL program in spring 2014 and subsequent spring semesters. This option is four semesters and one summer session.

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Spring Year 1
NURS 501: Pathophysiological and Pharmacological Bases for Nursing Practice 5 Credits 
NURS 503: Health Assessment across the Lifespan 3 Credits
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice 4 Credits (45 Clinical Hours)
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nursing Leadership Role 3 Credits 
Total: 15 Credits 
Summer Year 1 
NURS 517: Pediatric Nursing 5 Credits (90 Clinical Hours)
NURS 509: Maternal and Newborn Nursing 5 Credits (90 Clinical Hours)
 Total: 10 Credits
Fall Year 1 
NURS 514: Medical-Surgical Nursing 6 Credits (135 Clinical Hours)
NURS 625: Gerontological Nursing 2 Credits
NRSG 782: Organizational and Systems Leadership 3 Credits
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-Based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 14 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 511: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing 5 Credits (90 Clinical Hours)
NURS 508: Community/Public Health Nursing 4 Credits (90 Clinical Hours)
NRSG 780: Population Health and Promotion 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 15 Credits
Summer Year 2 
Opportunity to apply for residency or nursing assistant position.  
   
Fall Year 2 
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Emphasis Practicum 8 Credits (315 Clinical Hours)
NURS 736: Technical Solutions Knowledge Generation in Health Care 3 Credits
Total: 11 Credits
TOTAL 65 CREDITS (4 Semesters/1 Summer Session) 

Spring Admission Plan of Study Option 2

This plan of study is for students entering the CNL program in spring 2014 and subsequent spring semesters. This option is four semesters and two summer sessions.

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Spring Year 1
NURS 501: Pathophysiological and Pharmacological Bases for Nursing Practice 5 Credits 
NURS 503: Health Assessment across the Lifespan 3 Credits
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice 4 Credits
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nursing Leadership Role 3 Credits 
Total: 15 Credits 
Summer Year 1 
NURS 517: Pediatric Nursing 5 Credits 
 Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 1 
NURS 514: Medical-Surgical Nursing 6 Credits
NURS 625: Gerontological Nursing 2 Credits
NRSG 782: Organizational and Systems Leadership 3 Credits
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-Based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 14 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 511: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing 5 Credits
NURS 736: Technical Solutions Knowledge Generation in Health Care 3 Credits 
NRSG 780: Population Health and Promotion 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 14 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NURS 509: Maternal and Newborn Nursing 5 Credits
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NURS 508: Community/Public Health Nursing 4 Credits
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Emphasis Practicum 8 Credits
Total: 12 Credits
TOTAL 65 CREDITS (4 Semesters/2 Summer Sessions) 

Former Plans of Study

Fall Program of Study

Course Title (Credits) 16 mo. 21mo.
First Semester (Fall)
NURS 501: Pathopharmacology and Pharmacology Bases
for Nursing Practice (5)
x x
NURS 503: Health Assessment (3) x x
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice (4) x x
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nurse Leader Role (3) x x
NURS 622: Systems and Populations in Health Care (3) x  
Winter Session
NURS 625: Gerontology Nursing (3) x  
Second Semester (Spring)
NURS 511: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing for 
Clinical Nurse Leader (5)
x  
NURS 514: Adult Health Nursing (6) x x
NURS 625: Gerontology Nursing (3)   x
NURS 701: Science and Research for Advanced Practice Nursing (4) x x
NURS 736: Informatics and Technology (3) x  
Summer Session
NURS 509: Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family (5) x x
NURS 517: Nursing Care of Infants and Children (4) x x
Third Semester (Fall)
NURS 511: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing (5)   x
NURS 622: Systems: Populations in Health Care (3)   x
NURS 736: Informatics and Technology (3)   x
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum (8) x  
NURS 525: Clinical Nurse Leader (3) x  
NURS 508:  Community Health Nursing (5) x  
Fourth Semester (Spring)
NURS 508:  Community Health Nursing (5)   x
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum (8)   x
NURS 525: Clinical Nurse Leader (3)   x
Total Credits for MS CNL Option (either time-line) 64

Spring Program of Study

Course Title (Credits) 16 mo. 23 mo.
First Semester (Spring)
NURS 501: Pathopharmacology and Pharmacology Bases
for Nursing Practice (5)
x x
NURS 503: Health Assessment (3) x x
NURS 505: Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice (4) x x
NURS 507: Introduction to Nursing and the Clinical Nurse Leader Role (3) x x
NURS 622: Systems and Populations in Health Care (3) x  
Summer Session
NURS 509: Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family (5) x  
NURS 517: Nursing Care of Infants and Children (4) x x
Second Semester (Fall)
NURS 511: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing for 
Clinical Nurse Leader (5)
x  
NURS 514: Adult Health Nursing (6) x x
NURS 625: Gerontology Nursing (3)   x
NURS 701: Science and Research for Advanced Practice Nursing (4) x x
NURS 736: Informatics and Technology (3) x  
Winter Session
NURS 625: Gerontology Nursing (3) x  
Third Semester (Spring)
NURS 511: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing (5)   x
NURS 622: Systems: Populations in Health Care (3)   x
NURS 736: Informatics and Technology (3)   x
NURS 508:  Community Health Nursing (5) x  
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum (8) x  
NURS 525: Clinical Nurse Leader (3) x  
Summer Session
*NURS 509: Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family (5)   x
Fourth Semester (Fall)
NURS 508:  Community Health Nursing (5)   x
NURS 523: Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum (8)   x
NURS 525: Clinical Nurse Leader (3)   x
Total Credits for MS CNL Option (either time-line) 64

*May be taken in Summer I with advisor permission.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Students applying to the CNL option must have the following:

  • Baccalaureate degree in a major other than nursing with an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Science GPA of 3.0 (chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology)
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended
  • Personal essay
  • Two recent academic letters of recommendation (PDF)
  • Résumé
  • Application and application fee
  • Prerequisite Course List (Word)
  • English Proficiency & Foreign Coursework Evaluation (only for international applicants)
  • Prerequisite Courses:
    • General Chemistry with Lab
    • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II with Lab
    • Microbiology with Lab
    • Human Growth and Development
    • Statistics
    • Nutrition
  • The following prerequisite science courses must also have been completed within the last 10 years in order to be eligible for consideration:
    • Chemistry
    • Anatomy & Physiology I
    • Anatomy & Physiology II
    • Microbiology

If you the meet minimum standards for admission, as part of the selection process, we’ll interview you in person. The admissions process will also include a proctored writing sample.

What You'll Do

The CNL option prepares graduates to:

  • Design, provide, and oversee the care of individuals, families, groups, and populations
  • Provide direct patient care in complex situations in a variety of settings
  • Evaluate patient outcomes, assess risk, and revise plans of care to improve outcomes
  • Practice nursing based on research evidence to assure that patients benefit from the latest care innovations
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, implement, and evaluate patient care in a variety of settings
  • Use information systems and technologies to improve health care outcomes
  • Advocate for patients, families, and communities

For more information on the roles, competencies, and responsibilities of the CNL, please read the Competencies and Curricular Expectations for Clinical Nurse Leader Education and Practice.