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MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader Specialization

Program overview

Become your patients’ best advocate.

Focus on patient safety and advocate for superior care as a Clinical Nurse Leader. You’ll learn to lead a holistic team that might include nurses, physicians, social workers and pharmacists.

Focus on patient safety and advocate for superior care as a Clinical Nurse Leader. You’ll learn to lead a holistic team that might include nurses, physicians, social workers and pharmacists.

Quick Facts

2

years to complete

39

total credit hours

$695

per credit hour

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Fill out the form below and a skilled and knowledgeable Admissions Representative will get in touch to answer your questions and help with the application process.

Greater Responsibilities and Expanded Influence

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) created the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role to help nurses “develop the competencies needed to thrive in the current and future healthcare system.”

Our Clinical Nurse Leader specialization builds the skills you need for CNL certification. You’ll learn to act as an expert resource to fellow nurses, inform your patients about diagnoses and care options, work as part of an interdisciplinary team and make evidence-based recommendations to improve health care policy.

This specialization is the perfect way to reinvest in what you love about patient care while taking your nursing career — as well as your responsibilities and influence — to the next level.

Career Outlook: Roles Across Health Care Settings

Build yourself a career ensuring patients receive safe, high-quality care with the newest health care technologies and techniques.

In 2016, 62 percent of CNLs surveyed were employed at Acute Care Inpatient Facilities. Other top employers included Outpatient Clinics or Surgery Centers (11.5 percent), Schools of Nursing (8.4 percent) and Long-Term Care Facilities (3.8 percent).1

With the CNL certification, you can qualify for a variety of roles in addition to Clinical Nurse Leader, including Staff Nurse, Charge Nurse, Nurse Manager or Administrator, Nurse Educator, Quality Care Coordinator, CNL Faculty, and more.1

Clinical Nurse Leader:

$77,637/YEAR

As a Clinical Nurse Leader, your responsibilities would include leading collaborative patient care, as well as mentoring other nurses, educating patients and their families, and analyzing data and assessing patient risks and outcomes. This role requires the CNL certification from the AACN.2

Nurse Case Manager:

$71,131/YEAR

As a Nurse Case Manager, you’d lead and coordinate all aspects of a patient’s care, from admission and discharge to insurance reimbursement. You’d be your patient’s advocate, ensuring they receive proper procedures and care that meets their physical and emotional needs.3

Careers and Salaries

Curriculum: Immerse Yourself in Clinical Leadership

Through nine courses, comprising 27 specialization credit hours, you will gain skills in pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, communications, information management and more.

The Clinical Nurse Leader specialization includes 348 hours of role immersion to ensure you meet the requirements to sit for the AACN’s CNL Certification Exam.

Course Spotlight: NU 550 – Family and Community Context for Health Care

Gain a better understanding of family, primary care and community theories in the context of advanced practice nursing and clinical leadership roles.

Preview Courses

Course Spotlight: NU 575 – Health Care Information Systems

Manage patient data to improve care delivery, quality and safety in health care systems. This course combines knowledge in nursing, computer, information and cognitive sciences.

More Options for Your MSN

MSN: Nursing Education

Complement your clinical experience with teaching skills and learn to design curricula, evaluate your students and step into the role of instructor.

MSN: Nursing Management & Executive Leadership

Discover how to manage a budget, create and implement administrative processes, make certain your procedures meet professional and ethical standards, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call 877-791-7181.

You can earn a Master of Science in Nursing with Sacred Heart University within two years.

You can take as long as six years to complete the program.

  • Current, unencumbered RN license
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field with a 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts of all prior nursing and academic work
  • Résumé
  • Statement of professional goals: Why do you wish to pursue the MSN at SHU? Describe a significant accomplishment in your career or as a student that has prepared you to pursue graduate studies in nursing. In addition, please describe 2–3 professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one from a direct supervisor): Must be from an employer, professor or a member of the medical/nursing profession and be written within the last two years.
  • Proof of malpractice insurance ($1,000,000/$3,000,000)
  • Prerequisite courses in statistics, health assessment and research

Yes, you’ll earn your degree with one of the following specializations:

  • The Nursing Education specialization requires 180 clinical hours
  • The Nursing Management and Executive Leadership specialization requires 120 clinical hours
  • The Clinical Nurse Leader specialization requires 348 clinical hours
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Sources:

  1. Commission on Nurse Certification (2016). Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) 2016 Job Analysis (Rep.). Retrieved October 7, 2019, from https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/CNL/2016-CNL-Job-Analysis-Final-Report.pdf.
  2. Payscale (2019 September 13). Average Clinical Nurse Leader Salary. Retrieved October 7, 2019, from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Clinical_Nurse_Leader/Salary.
  3. Payscale (2019 September 18). Average Nurse Case Manager Salary. Retrieved October 7, 2019, from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Nurse_Case_Manager/Salary.