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College of Nursing > Doctoral Degree and Certificate Options > Doctor of Nursing Practice; Certificate Options; & > MSN For RNs: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
About Rush University

The Role

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) clinical nurse leader (CNL) is responsible for clinical management of comprehensive client care, for individuals and clinical populations across the continuum of care, and in multiple settings. The CNL assumes leadership/accountability for health outcomes for a specific group of clients within a unit or setting through the assimilation and application of research-based information to design, implement and evaluate plans of care. The clinical nurse leader is also responsible for the coordination and planning of care team activities and functions. Health promotion, risk reduction and improvement in point-of-care outcomes are critical elements in the role of the clinical nurse leader.

Important Program Information

  • Program FAQ-- A comprehensive source of programmatic information.
  • Program of Study-- A list of all required courses and number of credits for the MSN-CNL program.
Meet Rush Clinical Nurse Leader Student, Benson Wright

Program Highlights and Opportunities 

  • The program is two years in length and offered as a part-time program of study. Courses are offered online and students visit campus three times. There is a clinical residency requirement that may be completed at the student's place of employment.
  • The CNL program provides an opportunity for students with an educational background of an ADN and a bachelor's degree in another field. The CNL degree offers 13 courses and 9 of those transfer into our DNP programs.  
  • Employers that hire CNL graduates report they are superior patient advocates, excellent problem solvers and committed to high quality care at the bedside. 
  • Master's-prepared clinical nurse leaders are actively sought by acute care and community settings. Our experience, and that of other CNL programs, reveals a high demand for CNL graduates, prepared for high-level clinical practice.
  • If you are an ADN with a bachelor's degree in another field you are eligible to apply for the CNL program.  See our new community college partnerships for ADNs with a non-nursing bachelor's degree.
Faculty Contact for the Clinical Nurse Leader Program

Rebekah Hamilton, PhD, RN, CNL, FAAN
Interim Director of Generalist Education
Phone: (312) 942-0782

Certification and Accreditation

The master's degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Upon graduation from the CNL program students are eligible to sit for AACN certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader.

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