Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

The UTMB School of Nursing and our partners in the community are proud to be offering a new Master’s Degree as a  Clinical Nurse Leader. This is a unique Master’s degree where you will not only be immersed in the theoretical aspects of leadership but applying what you learn in the clinical setting to be able to meet the challenges of nursing’s future. Clinical Nurse Leaders are at the forefront of changing the quality of healthcare within the environment where patients receive their care such as at the bedside in the hospital or in the outpatient setting. The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) adds  value to any health care organization by using evidence-based practice to achieve better outcomes, fiscal strategies to reduce costs, and educational strategies to foster learning in other in other health professionals.

The CNL program offers bachelor prepared Registered Nurse’s an opportunity to critically examine the delivery of nursing care and services in relation to structure, process, and outcomes within small and large organizational systems. Nursing is faced with many unique challenges in today’s economic environment, including the fragmentation of care, retention of nurses in the profession, opportunities for advancement, and utilization of nurses to their full scope of practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in response to input from nursing leaders in the community, created this new nursing role. The CNL is the first new nursing role in over 40 years that is designed to respond to the challenges we face in healthcare today in a rapidly changing environment.

CNL Program Plan

For more information on applying to one of the MSN programs, visit the Prospective Students page.

Admissions Information

How will I hear from the Office of Admissions about my application?
Your application is submitted through a centralized application system at the School of Nursing Admissions office. All application materials (e.g., essay, CV, recommendations, etc.) are submitted through this department. Once your application is complete and submitted to UTMB SON, it is evaluated in a pooled review process. Qualified applicants are invited to interview with the program track administrator. We will use the e-mail address you provide for all contact regarding your application status.

What happens to my application after I complete my interview?
Upon completion of the interview, your application is reviewed by program faculty and an admissions recommendation is made. Admission recommendations are then forwarded to the Admissions and Progressions Committee of the School of Nursing. It is their charge to offer admission to qualified candidates.

What are tuition costs and is financial aid available?
Please visit the UTMB SON University website at or call the financial aid office (409) XXX-XXXX for the most current information.

Program/Contact Information

What is the main goal of this program?
The clinical nurse leader is responsible for clinical management of comprehensive client care, for individuals and clinical populations across the continuum of care, and in multiple settings. He/she 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.

What type of experience is needed?
Experience is always beneficial in any educational program but not required for the CNL program.

Is there an on-line option and will I have to come to campus for classes?
Yes, most of the CNL program is offered on-line and yes, you will need to come to the beginning and end of each semester in order for us to establish

How long does the program take to complete?
The program is two years in length and offered as a part-time program of study.

Can I take one class at a time?
We generally advise students to not take one class at a time.

Can I start taking classes before I am accepted or matriculated?
Yes, you can take classes as a student-at-large. There are some restrictions and some employers will not provide tuition reimbursement. Taking classes as a student-at-large does not guarantee you admission. Please contact the Admissions office for more information (409)xxx-xxxx .

Will graduate level classes taken at other universities transfer in for credit?
We consider classes for transfer credit on a case by case basis. After you are accepted into the program, you will be assigned an advisor who can help you with the transfer credit request process. Please save course descriptions and course syllabi for all courses you want considered for transfer.

Can I work while I am in the program?
Since the program is part-time (an average of two courses per term) most students continue to work full-time.

Where do I do my clinical hours?
You complete your clinical hours in the geographic region of your choice. You will work closely with your Nursing advisor to identify and contact appropriate clinical sites in your area.