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

Our Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM) Clinical Nurse Leader program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field and want to pursue a career in nursing. Our program focuses on clinical leadership and prepares students to successfully sit for the NCLEX (RN licensure exam) and Clinical Nurse Leader certification 

We know that flexible learning is top of mind for many potential students as they weigh whether starting school is right for them. The GEM program offers students the ability to learn both in-person and online. More than half of all courses are offered online or are online optional.  

Critical elements in the role of a Clinical Nurse Leader are promoting health, reducing risk, and improving point-of-care outcomes. In addition to being prepared to function at a high level as a nurse in an inpatient, outpatient or community setting, you will also be poised to pursue an advanced practice DNP or PhD in nursing degree. Interested applicants can choose to apply simultaneously for one of five DNP programs through the Direct Entry pathway. As a top-tier academic medical center, you will learn from practitioner-teachers who actually practice what they teach. You will have a different clinical experience every term providing a broad overview of all of the major specialties in which nurses work, as well as a variety of settings across the health care continuum. You’ll also have volunteer opportunities to expand your education beyond Rush University Medical Center.

Direct Entry Pathway

Interested students are able to move seamlessly from the GEM program into one of five DNP programs or the PhD in Nursing Science program through the Direct Entry pathway. Interested applicants may consider applying to the Adult Health and Gerontology Primary Care NP, Advanced Public Health, Family NP, Primary Care Pediatric NP,  Psychiatric-Mental Health NP and PhD in Nursing Science programs.  

Application to the Direct Entry pathway will be done through the NursingCAS application system and requires an additional short-form application to the DNP track of their choice or the PhD program. This application is completed jointly with the GEM application.  

Upon acceptance to the Direct Entry pathway, direct entry students will be assigned a faculty advisor from their selected program track. GEM students in the Direct Entry program must maintain good standing throughout the GEM program to retain their early acceptance in the DNP or PhD program and are required to:   

  1. maintain a GPA above 3.2,
  2. attend scheduled meetings with their assigned GEM and DNP advisors,
  3. participate in required professional development opportunities,
  4. complete an annual progress report, and 
  5. within six months of graduation from the GEM program, obtain RN licensure and employment at a position that aligns with their selected terminal degree program track. 
Quick Facts: Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses
Program Type:

Full-Time

Location:

Hybrid

Length:

2 Years

Class Size:

76

$1087

Per credit hour

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long is the GEM program?

This full-time program is completed in 2 years. Upon graduation, our graduates sit for the NCLEX exam to receive their RN license before they can move into practice or continue their education to one of the doctoral programs. 

Can the GEM program be completed online? 
The program is considered a “hybrid” program with a mix of classes online and in-person. It has been designed to meet the educational needs of our students and provide the most optimal learning environment while ensuring the necessary clinical skills are developed. Clinical rotations are offered through a variety of sites across the Chicago metro area and provide students with the opportunity to see individuals throughout the lifespan.   
When are students accepted? 

There are two application periods each year. Students can apply to start in September or January. We recommend applicants complete their application as early in the application process as they can.

Is financial aid available? 

Yes, Rush University offers information on tuition and financial aid that is currently available. In addition to tuition and financial aid, the College of Nursing offers support to students to attend conferences through the Dean’s Scholarship Fund

What resources are there to help students be successful? 

Rush College of Nursing offers students a high faculty-to-student ratio to help ensure that skills learned in the classroom are able to be applied in the real-world. Additionally, the Nursing Learning Lab and Simulation Centers help students hone their skills with patients. Outside the classroom, students are connecting with the Chicago community through volunteer opportunities and clinical experience through the Office of Faculty Practice, Students may also choose to gain experience by working in the medical center as Nursing Assistants, Research Assistants, or work study students.  

Can GEM students also pursue a DNP or PhD? 

Yes, there are two options for potential applicants. One option is to complete the GEM program and after graduation, apply for the DNP or PhD program. This pathway is ideal for applicants who are unsure whether pursuing a DNP or PhD is right for them. The other is through the Direct Entry pathway. Interested applicants can apply for the GEM, and one of the select DNP or PhD program simultaneously. This pathway is highly competitive and is currently only available for the following programs. More information on the Direct Entry pathway is available.  

When would someone apply to the Direct Entry pathway for a DNP or PhD program?  

GEM applicants apply for the DNP or PhD program and the GEM program simultaneously. Once accepted, students will need to continue meeting expectations outlined above. Students are notified of their acceptance to the DNP or PhD program when they receive their GEM admissions results. 

How is the Direct Entry pathway different from the regular DNP and PhD admissions process?  

The Direct Entry pathway allows students to make decisions and receive advisement about the next stages of their career while they are in the GEM program. The Direct Entry pathway also helps students build relationships with their peers and mentors that are vital to success in both programs.    

How much does the program cost?  

Tuition for the GEM program is $1087 per credit hour, and tuition for DNP and PhD programs is $1286. Information on tuition and financial aid is available.   

In addition, students who decide to work at Rush and utilize the Rush tuition reimbursement benefit can decrease their out-of-pocket costs for the DNP and PhD program. (Please note, the GEM program is a full-time program with clinical hours beginning in term 1; GEM students are discouraged from working during the first two terms of the program.) 

If I am not accepted to the Direct Entry pathway, can I still apply for a DNP or PhD program later? 

Yes, graduates are invited to apply to the DNP or PhD program after completing the GEM program. GEM graduates are eligible to receive up to 12 credit hours of MSN coursework applied to their DNP plan of study. GEM graduates are highly successful upon completion of the program; whether entering the workforce at Rush as MSN prepared nurse and Clinical Nurse Leader, or continuing at Rush to pursue a DNP or PhD degree.  

What specific admission criteria are evaluated when applying for the Direct Entry pathway?  

All applicants are reviewed holistically based on the  Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses Admission Guidelines. To participate in the Direct Entry pathway, applicants will submit their standard GEM materials, and an additional short-form application to the PhD in Nursing Science or DNP track of their choice. The short-form application is part of the Program Materials section of your NursingCAS application. 

Can I change specialty tracks once accepted or am I bound to the track I am accepted into? Can apply to multiple tracks? 

Applicants are admitted to a specific specialty based on holistic review of the application; a student that accepts the offer of admission is making a commitment to enroll in that specialty. Applicants must be able to confidently identify one area of specialization they would like to pursue. 

Can I attend a DNP or PhD info session to determine what track to apply to?  

All GEM applicants are encouraged to participate in the virtual Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses Information Session.  GEM applicants that are considering the Direct Entry pathway should also plan to attend the information session for the PhD in Nursing Science or DNP track in which they are interested.  

If I falter on the requirements while in the GEM program what happens? 

GEM students in the Direct Entry pathway must maintain good standing throughout the program to retain their early acceptance in the DNP or PhD program and be required to:  

  • maintain a GPA above 3.2,   

  • attend scheduled meetings with their GEM and Direct Entry advisor,   

  • participate in required professional development opportunities,  

  • complete an annual progress report, and   

  • within six months of graduation from the GEM program, obtain RN licensure and employment at a position that aligns with their selected terminal degree program track.   

Students who fail to meet the criteria listed above will have the Direct Entry admission offer rescinded. However, this does not necessarily impact your standing in the GEM program. GEM students follow the admissions and progressions policies outlined in the College of Nursing student guidebook. 

 

 

GEM Alumni Profiles:
Hear about their experiences in the generalist MSN program, how they took the next step to become a nurse practitioner (DNP), and what they are doing now.
Why Not Men in Nursing?
 
Student Profile: Kevin Hsu, MSN, CNL, EMT-P
 
Student Profile: Jacqueline Lagman, MSN, RN
 
Student Profile: Hebie Prill, MSN, RN
 

 

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Learn more about the Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) for Non-Nurses: Clinical Nurse Leader program at an online information session.