Western University of Health Sciences College of Graduate Nursing Western University of Health Sciences
College of Graduate Nursing

Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL)


Flexible Web-Based Programs Designed for Professional Nurses

Western University is one of the first institutions educating future nurse leaders in the unique Master of Science in Nursing, Health Systems Leadership – Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) track. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Clinical Nurse Leader or CNL is a new nursing role being developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with leaders from the education and practice arenas. AACN is advancing the CNL to improve the quality of patient care and to better prepare nurses to thrive in the health care system. The CNL role emerged following research and discussion with stakeholder groups as a way to engage highly skilled clinicians in outcomes-based practice and quality improvement. In practice, the CNL oversees the care coordination of a distinct group of patients and actively provides direct patient care in complex situations. This master s degree-prepared clinician puts evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risk, and has the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. The CNL is a leader in the health care delivery system, and the implementation of this role will vary across settings. This CCNE-accredited program consists of three integrated elements:

About the Program

This program is designed for bachelor-prepared Registered Nurses interested in becoming advanced generalists at the point of care. The CNL is prepared to lead patient safety and quality improvement, evidence-based practice, risk reduction, and care coordination. The CNL works with interprofessional teams caring for a variety of patient populations in all practice settings. This program combines the flexibility of on-line learning with seminar weekends to facilitate graduate education for professional nurses. Full-time and extended  track options are available.

The Curriculum

With the pre-program course CGN 5000: Communication and Information Management (1 unit) the MSN/Health Systems Leadership - Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) curriculum consists of 51 semester units.  CGN 5000 is Mandatory and offered through the College of Graduate Nursing during the summer prior to the start of the program in the fall. Please note that CGN 5000 is not covered under financial aid because it is a pre-program course and not part of the core curriculum. Full-time students complete the program in two years. An extended track option is available which students complete the program in three years.

Please click on the links below to view the MSN/Health Systems Leadership - Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) program curriculum (course number/title and unit value by semester):

MSN/Health Systems Leadership – Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) Curriculum (**p. 75, CGN catalog)

MSN/Health Systems Leadership – Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) Curriculum *Extended Track Option (**p. 76, CGN catalog)

*The extended track option is available for students that choose to take one additional year to complete the program. Students may choose the extended track option if they feel more time is needed to complete their education in order to meet career, family, and other outside commitments/obligations. The extended track is also a viable option for students who feel that the additional year will allow them to complete the program at a pace that better suits their learning goals. Students who choose the extended track option will still be eligible for financial aid.

**You can also access the curriculum grids by visiting the first page of the College of Graduate Nursing Student Catalog and scrolling to the respective page within the catalog or by clicking on the respective section in the Table of Contents.

Please visit the Course Descriptions section within the College of Graduate Nursing Student Catalog to obtain course description information.

For more information regarding the MSN/HSL - Clinical Nurse Leader (MSN-CNL) curriculum, please contact:

Marcia Luxenburg-Horowitz, MSN, RN
Assistant Professor
Assistant Director, Health Systems Leadership MSN Program
E-mail: mhorowitz@westernu.edu.

Admissions Information

For information regarding prerequisite coursework and application requirements, please review the MSN/CNL admissions information, or if you are ready you may submit an online application. If you have any questions regarding the application requirements, please contact the Admissions Counselors: Julie Smith at (909) 469-5442, Michelle Cowling at (909) 469-5540, or Elaine Gonzalez at (909) 469-5337.

Self-Directed Learning Activities

The World Wide Web provides a unique opportunity to offer students individualized learning experiences that would be impossible through other media. Online education provides an environment to facilitate critical thinking and interactive learning. Learning activities include discussion forums, group projects, presentations, and scholarly papers.

Weekend Seminars

Twice during each semester, students are required to convene on campus for an intensive weekend of instruction. The weekend seminars provide an opportunity for faculty-student interaction, didactic instruction and demonstrations, student presentations, and group project work. To view Weekend Seminars and other important college-specific dates, please view the Academic Calendar.

Student Assessment

Student performance in each course is assessed through a combination of seminar participation, written and oral presentations, and/or objective examination.