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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  May 29, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration

Area of Concentration: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

The CNL is designed for the nurse who wants to have an impact on nursing while remaining at the point of care. This emerging nursing role was developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to improve the quality of patient care and better prepare nurses to thrive in the complex healthcare arena.

Clinical Nurse Leader Applicant Requirements

A baccalaureate degree in nursing from CCNE, ACICS, or ACEN [NLN] accredited program of nursing. An RN-Option, Early Admission to MSN/DNP is available for this Area of Concentration. Other requirements for admission include an application, transcripts, professional references, an essay, a resume/CV, an undergraduate statistics course of at least 3 credits, with a minimum of a C grade completed within the past 5 years, and a copy of a current license to practice nursing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the state or U.S. territory where the clinical practice requirements will be completed. A GRE score may be required. Applicants should have 1 year of clinical experience prior to beginning clinical courses.

The clinical nurse leader curriculum may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, physical diagnosis, health promotion and patient/family education deepen the student’s understanding of wellness, illness and treatment modalities.

Courses in organizational theory, leadership development, informatics, health care outcomes and a role seminar prepare the student to be a leader in the clinical area.

Courses in research and statistics teach the student how to strengthen evidence-based practice. The CNL Clinical Practicum enables the student to transfer theoretical knowledge into practical application.

Upon graduation, candidates are eligible to sit for certification through The Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) which is the autonomous arm of AACN responsible for all certification functions. The CNL certification is based upon a national standard of requisite knowledge and experiences, thereby assisting employers, the public and members of the health professions in the assessment of a CNL. (AACN web site).

Total Credits: 42

* These courses are available via distance education for qualified students per Policy 438

** Clinical Practicum

* There is also an online option. All courses can be completed online except the 420 clinical practicum hours, which can be completed at a health care facility near your home. See for additional information related to the online CNL program.

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