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MSN, Clinical Nurse Leader

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The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master's degree program in nursing at Lander University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. (

Be a leader within your healthcare team.

Today's health care environment is in need of strong leadership from various health care disciplines. As America's population ages, the nation is facing a significant shortage of professional nurses with the diverse skills and experience essential to address the growing needs of the 21st century.

Lander's online Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader program equips nurse generalists to meet this critical need. Clinical nurse leaders are expert clinicians prepared to lead and manage health care outcomes for client groups within the care environment by using evidence-based knowledge to design, implement and evaluate care.

Lander has been a trusted leader in nursing education for more than 50 years. The experienced faculty in Lander's William Preston Turner School of Nursing are more than just educators. They are practicing professional nurses, many of whom maintain specialty certification and clinical practices that allow them to remain current in the field.

Lander's Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program is offered in an online format, which gives working nurses the flexibility to coordinate their graduate studies with their work schedules and complete clinical requirements close to home.

For the nurse who desires to take his or her career to the next level, the Clinical Nurse Leader program is an excellent choice. Become a(n):

  • Clinician
  • Educator
  • Outcomes Manager
  • Systems Analyst
  • Information Manager
  • Team Manager
  • Advocate
  • Profession Member

Why Become a Clinical Nurse Leader?

Evolving health care needs have necessitated an increase of nurses prepared at the master's level, and the CNL degree is a nationally recognized and fast-growing role for nurses who want to be better clinicians. Lander's online CNL degree program prepares nurses for advanced integration of evidence-based and outcomes-based practice.

Clinical nurse leaders work to improve the quality of care in a variety of settings. They serve as advanced practitioners who are able to understand - and respond to - the complexity of patients and health care delivery.

Most importantly, clinical nurse leaders are able to coordinate direct care activities that have a positive impact upon patients and clients within a health care system.

The American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) states that the CNL can also function in roles such as:

  • Microsystems-Level Advocacy
  • Centralized Care Coordinator
  • Outcomes Management
  • Risk Assessment
  • Quality Improvement
  • Interprofessional Communication

Certification Exam

All CNL graduates are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam administered by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC). Graduates not only use "MSN" after their names, but after successful certification they are also eligible to use the initials "CNL" in their credentials.

Admission Requirements

An online graduate application must be completed and all supporting documents should be returned to the Office of Admissions at least seven days prior to the term or semester in which admission is requested. Only after these credentials have been received can the Graduate Admissions Committee consider the application. No single criterion is decisive; each item is considered in relation to the applicant’s total qualifications. 

All graduate students are reviewed for initial admission based on the following:
Applicants for the CNL program are required to apply to Lander University and to the School of Nursing. Copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts are required. Other admission criteria include:

  • Graduate of a baccalaureate nursing program accredited by National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Overall grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 on 4.0 scaled on baccalaureate course work 
  • Current unencumbered South Carolina Registered Nurse or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License 
  • Satisfactory criminal background check, drug screen and physical examination certifying applicant’s ability to complete clinical requirements 
  • Completion of undergraduate statistics course with a grade of C or higher


Applicant Forms

For additional application and admission requirements, please contact the School of Nursing, 864-388-8337, or Office of Admissions, 1-888-4-LANDER.




Note: The information below provides convenient links to some of the courses required for this degree; however, it should not be used as a course registration guide. Please refer to the official Lander University Academic Catalog for the most accurate and up-to-date program requirements.

NUR 600

Theory and Conceptual Foundation

NUR 611

Advanced Clinical Assessment

NUR 612

Advanced Pharmacology

NUR 613

Advanced Pathophysiology

NUR 620

Healthcare Structure and Finance

NUR 630

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

NUR 635

Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum I


NUR 640

Management of Clinical Outcomes

NUR 645 Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum II 3*
NUR 651

Research for Evidence-Based Practice

NUR 660

Leadership in Healthcare

NUR 675 Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum III 6*
Total Major Program Requirements 39

*Clinical Hours Included

Clinical Requirements:
A total of 400 clinical hours is required and is incorporated in four courses. A hallmark of CNL preparation is a clinical immersion experience that provides a large portion of the clinical requirements across a semester. Clinical placement will be coordinated to be convenient to a student's geographic location, if appropriate.


Contact Us

For more information about the program or assistance with the application procedure, please submit a Request for Information.