Coursework in the clinical nurse leader (CNL) track prepares a generalist practitioner with specialized skills in lateral integration of care and interdisciplinary collaboration. The clinical nurse leader role focuses on developing enhanced clinical skills for management of patient care and the care environment. Coursework builds strong leadership skills through development of analytical skills combined with assessment and inquiry techniques. Students will gain a strong foundation in nursing issues, nursing theory, research, and evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes. A required 8 week residency consisting of a minimum of 300 hours clinical experiences will be arranged collaboratively with the student, faculty, and a clinical mentor. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is currently developing a certification exam for the Clinical Nurse Leader and graduates of this program will be eligible to take the examination.
MSN - CNL Curriculum
Pre-requisite: Graduate - level statistics
36 credit hours total, 400 practice hours
Course Schedule 1st Fall Semester
NU 515: Application of Theory to Practice (3 credits)
NU 560: Research Methods (3 credits)
NU 510: Advanced Topics: Diverse Populations (34 practice hours) (3 credits)
NU 505: Advanced Topics: Evidence-Based Practice (2 credits)
Course Schedule Spring Semester
NU 535: Principles of Teaching & Learning (3 credits)
NU 542: Advanced Pathophysiology (3 credits)
NU 530: Healthcare Policy & Economics (3 credits)
NU 544: Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan (34 practice hours) (3 credits)
NU 550: CNL Outcomes and Care Management (2 credits)
NU 525: Project Seminar (34 practice hours)(2 credits)
Course Schedule 2nd Fall Semester
NU 570: CNL Residency (300 practice hours)* (4 credits)
NU 545: Advanced Pharmacology Across the Lifespan*(3 credits)
NU 590: Project (1 credit)
The CNL track requires successful completion (grade C or better) in the following courses: NU515, NU560, NU505, NU535, NU542, NU510, NU544, NU550, NU525, NU570, NU525, NU591, and a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
MSN Clinical Nurse Leader Core Course Descriptions:
505. Advanced Topics: Evidence-Based Practice (2 credits)
Exploration, integration, and application of skills needed to implement evidence-based practice will form the basis of this course. Students will develop skill analyzing clinical research findings including evidence from systematic reviews, meta-analyses or evidence obtained from random controlled trials, well-designed case control and cohort studies, and systematic reviews of descriptive and qualitative studies. Expert use of information technology and search strategies will empower students to answer appropriate clinical questions. Students will formulate a project for clinical or educational change based on best evidence.
510. Advanced Topics: Diverse Populations (3 credits)
Working with diverse populations to mobilize change in the health care environment will be the focus of this course. Diverse populations and global issues in nursing and health care will be examined in relation to health promotion and health practices that have informed nursing practice.
515. Nursing and Interdisciplinary Theory (3 credits)
Classic nursing and interdisciplinary theorists’ work are explored to inform and guide practice, education and research in graduate nursing roles. Examination of theories will focus on basic elements, interrelationships among major concepts as well as internal and external analysis of each model. The course focus is on survey exploration of theories from nursing, business, and social sciences critical to advancing knowledge and practice. Students will compare theoretical perspectives from at least two disciplines and reflect on how these guide change in nursing, leadership, and health care.
525. Project seminar (2 credits)
The student will explore the independent nursing role to effectively implement evidence-based practice or education in complex decision-making situations involving a clearly identified health care problem. Each student will collaborate in a health care setting across two or more disciplines identifying an issue that requires data collection, in-depth analysis, resource management, and quality improvement processes. The proposal for the terminal project will be developed in this course. A minimum of 50 collaborative practice hours will be required during this course.
530. Health Care Policy and Economics (3 credits)
An overview of U.S. Health care policy and finance issues will be explored. Health care policy initiatives affecting nursing practice, patient outcomes and the care environment will be analyzed with particular attention to forces affecting costs, access to care, and social impact. Trends in economic management of health care costs will be explored. A position paper with documentation from the literature will be developed to support a concept or to influence change within the care environment.
535. Principles of Teaching & Learning (3 credits)
This course explores the foundations for course development, instructional design, learning style assessment, and the evaluation of learning outcomes in the field of nursing. The links between education and health care will be explored, with an emphasis on learning and change that target enhanced clinical outcomes and care environment management. Teaching methods, philosophies of education and learning, and tools for promoting communication, ethical issues in student practice, and the role of higher education in nursing will be concepts examined in this course.
542. Advanced Pathophysiology (3 credits)
This course builds upon concepts mastered in baccalaureate pathophysiology and focuses on the alteration in normal physiology and the associated pathophysiological processes of common disorders to provide an understanding of human illness. This course will build on cellular physiology of disease, signs, symptoms and current evidence based prevention, pathophysiological processes and disease management.
544. Advanced Health Assessment (3 credits)
This course is designed to enhance the student’s knowledge of holistic health assessment for patients across the lifespan including health promotion, risk reduction and family-centered care. This advanced health assessment course builds upon the student’s current understanding of health assessment using the human simulators and case studies. Nursing responsibilities including history taking, targeted assessment physical examination techniques and documentation will be addressed.
545. Advanced Pharmacology (3 credits)
This course provides the graduate nursing student with the necessary knowledge to develop a greater understanding of pharmacology and application. This advanced course builds upon the student’s current understanding of pharmacology through scenarios and case studies. It is designed to reinforce pharmacology concepts, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotherapeutics and to enhance evidence based treatment. Students will explore the principles of pharmacology as they apply to various disease processes with consideration of medication selection factors, client adherence, and ethical implications. The focus will be on understanding the pharmacologic action of drugs as well as critically analyzing case studies with appropriate application of evidence based pharmacotherapeutics
550. CNL Outcomes and Care Management (2 credits)
Building on baccalaureate level nursing skills and foundational pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment, the focus of this course is on integrative care approaches that improve health through graduate-level nursing and collaborative planning to design systems that promote positive health outcomes. Health promotion, disease reduction, and/or prevention as health-oriented strategies will be applied to patient care. Students will develop an outcome-focused model that relates to a graduate-level clinical practice area and that will inform the terminal project and residency.
560. Research Methods (3 credits)
Building upon undergraduate research methods and advanced statistics, this course will emphasize biostatistics and epidemiological data used to measure and improve clinical outcomes in health care. Research studies representing a variety of designs will be examined for applicability to improve nursing practice and clinical outcomes. Students will analyze research applications to improve nursing practice and will develop an integrated review and analysis of the research literature on a topic identified collaboratively with the faculty member.
570. CNL Residency (4 credits)
The residency is the culminating application of the role of the CNL. Under faculty supervision, students will design a collaborative residency with clinical preceptors focusing on refinement of nursing leadership skills and management of clinical outcomes in the care environment. The complexities of clinical nursing leadership in interdisciplinary clinical applications will be discussed in weekly meetings. Students will apply evidenced-based practice including risk management, interdisciplinary collaboration for the promotion of patient outcomes and the integration of informatics to advance decision-making. Advocacy, health care resource, and organizational issues will be intentionally evaluated. Students will develop a written analysis of personal leadership skill development and reflection of the impact of CNL change within the care environment. The CNL residency will require a minimum of 300 clinical hours over a 10- week period.
590. Advanced Nursing Project (2 credits)
The terminal project will be a synthesis of master’s learning experiences directed at the integration of concepts fundamental to nursing leadership, improved clinical outcomes, and care environment management. Students will identify a validated problem within a complex system in collaboration with faculty and clinical leaders, conduct an extensive review of literature that guides and clarifies multiple approaches to problem resolution. The student will design, implement, and evaluate a selected approach to address the problem. This final project will enable the student to act as a change agent and will result in a final paper or business plan that is peer-reviewed and is of sufficient rigor to be replicated and/or published in the professional literature. This project will be the final entry into the student’s portfolio and will be submitted to the graduate advisor to meet graduation requirements.