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Generalist Entry Master’s in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses: Clinical Nurse Leader

Our Generalist Entry Master’s Clinical Nurse Leader program is for students with a bachelor’s in another field who want to pursue nursing.  

You will focus on clinical leadership in nursing as you earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). 

The GEM program, highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, allows you to learn both online and in person. You also have a path to pursue one of six doctoral program at RUSH after graduation through the Direct Entry Pathway.

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Fast Facts: Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses
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Program Type:
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2 Years

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Per Credit Hour
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NCLEX Pass Rate:
(National Average: 86%, Illinois Average: 84%)

Our Approach

You will be exceptionally trained by experts who practice what they teach as clinicians at a top-tier academic medical center. At RUSH University Medical Center, you gain hands-on experience at a state-of-the-art facility alongside top practitioners in their fields.  

We have a high faculty-to-student ratio to help ensure the skills you learn in the classroom are able to be applied in the real world. Additionally, our Nursing Learning Lab and Simulation Center help you hone your skills with patients.  

You also have volunteer opportunities to expand your education beyond RUSH’s campus while assisting underserved communities. 

You will be well-prepared to work at a high level in an inpatient, outpatient or community setting. And you will be poised to continue your education and pursue a doctoral degree in nursing.

The Direct Entry pathway allows you to apply for one of five DNP programs when you apply for the MSN program.

In addition, we’ll prepare you to successfully complete the NCLEX RN licensure exam and Clinical Nurse Leader certification. Since 2013, our students’ NCLEX pass rate has greatly exceeded the national and state averages. 

Hear From Our Students

Learn about some of our recent Generalist Entry Master’s Clinical Nurse Leader students, their experiences and why they chose RUSH University. 

  • College of Nursing Student Profile: Kevin Hsu

    Rush University College of Nursing student Kevin Hsu talks about his background, the growing number of men in nursing, and what drove him to Rush and a career in nursing.

  • College of Nursing Student Profile: Hebie Prill

    College of Nursing student Hebie Prill talks about changing careers, her passion for nursing and her experience at Rush.

Program Length and Location

This is a full-time program that is completed in two years. More than half of the courses in this hybrid program are either offered online or have an online option.  

Classes and clinical rotations are generally held Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

We will arrange all of your clinicals. Clinical practice sites include Rush University Medical Center and other health care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area. 

After graduation, you will sit for the NCLEX exam to receive your RN license before moving on to practice in the field. Or you might decide to continue your education by applying to one of our doctoral programs.  

When you apply to the GEM program, you can also apply to one of a select number of doctoral program through our Direct Entry pathway program. Another option is to apply to one of our DNP or PhD programs after graduation. 

Program Tuition

At RUSH University, we know your education is a big investment. We want to make sure you have all the information to be able to make the best financial decisions for you and your family.

Tuition for the GEM program is $1,120 per credit hour, and the total cost for the program is $82,880.

We discourage students from working during the program because clinical hours begin early in your education. But we want to make sure your education is as affordable as possible.  

In addition to financial aid, we help students attend conferences through the Dean’s Scholarship Fund.

Career Opportunities: Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses

Your preparation as a clinical nurse leader gives you a solid foundation for building a nursing career. You will be well-positioned for success no matter what your career goal may be.  

Our graduates work as registered nurses in various hospital and clinical settings, such as the following: 

  • Emergency department 
  • Intensive care unit 
  • Labor and delivery 
  • Medical-surgical unit 
  • Neonatal intensive care unit 
  • Operating room 
  • Orthopedics 
  • Palliative care unit 
  • Pediatric intensive care unit 


Graduates have developed careers at hospitals, clinics and community settings across Chicago:  

  • Advocate Christ Medical Center 
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital 
  • Chicago Department of Public Health 
  • The Chicago Lighthouse 
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital 
  • RUSH Oak Park Hospital  
  • RUSH University Medical Center 
  • Shirley Ryan AbilityLab 
  • Shriners Children’s (Chicago) 
  • Swedish Hospital 
  • UChicago Medicine 
  • University of Chicago Physicians Group 


Our graduates are also well-represented nationally: 

  • Cleveland Clinic 
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital 
  • Massachusetts General Hospital 
  • Mayo Clinic 
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 
  • UCLA Health 

There is strong demand for clinical nurse leaders. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for registered nurses is expected to increase 16% from 2016-26.  

The average salary for clinical nurse leaders is $94,924, according to 

Faculty: Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses
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