Clinical Nurse Leader

Three female staff in Emergency Medicine




The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is a new role in nursing. The CNL program prepares professional nurses as advanced generalists who are experts at the point of care.

Clinical Nurse Leader Program Information

The Clinical Nurse Leader has multiple roles in healthcare including:

  • Clinical Practice
  • Outcomes Manager
  • Patient Advocate
  • Educator
  • Information Manager
  • Systems Analyst/Risk Anticipator
  • Team Leader

The Clinical Nurse Leader curriculum can be completed in three semesters post-baccalaureate and consists of course work that address each of the areas cited above as well as immersion clinical experiences to assist learners in adapting to the role. All courses are online and clinical can be arranged in your own community (in most cases). The interactive online classroom provides opportunities for active learning, discussion, problem solving, debating, critical thinking, research, networking, and community building.

The CNL program does not require completion of a certification exam for program completion nor upon graduation. 

▼   Clinical Nurse Leader Curriculum

BSN-MSN students complete MSN core and MSN specialty courses for a total of 36 credit hours.  The MSN degree must be completed within five years of matriculation.

Support Courses
NU 518 - Advanced Nursing Assessment 3 credit hours
NU 545 - Physio-pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing 3 credit hours
NU 578 - Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses 3 credit hours
MSN Core Courses
NU 607 - Scientific Underpinnings of Advanced Nursing Practice 3 credit hours
NU 608 - Evidence-Based Practice and Quality Improvement in Healthcare 3 credit hours
NU 610 - Healthcare Policy and Finance 3 credit hours
NU 613 - Organizational & Systems Leadership 3 credit hours
Clinical Nurse Leader Specialty Courses
NU 535 - Clinical Nurse Leader Role & Competencies 3 credit hours
NU 536 - Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum I - 300 Clinical Hours 5 credit hours
NU 537 - Clinical Nurse Leader Synthesis 3 credit hours
NU 538 - Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum II - 240 Clinical Hours 4 credit hours
RN to MSN students who are registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in a non-nursing discipline must also complete the following courses.
RN-MSN Courses
NU 506 - Evidence-Based Practice & Informatics for Professional Nurses 4 credit hours
NU 507 - Leadership & Management Roles for Professional Nurses 4 credit hours
NU 508 - Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Professional Nurses 4 credit hours


Please feel free to contact Dr. James Harris for more information about this specialty: