Program Overview

In today’s complex health care environment registered nurses are expected to play a key role in addressing critical health care issues across the nation. The clinical nurse leader (CNL®) master’s in nursing program at Regis College prepares nurses to become a leader who is able to address these complex issues and practice along the continuum of care in any healthcare setting.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2013) states that CNLs are expected to “assume accountability for patient care outcomes through the assimilation and application of evidence-based information to design, implement, and evaluate patient care processes and models of care delivery”. CNLs are across the country are providing evidence of the important and essential role they play in improving healthcare outcomes through quality management and evidence-based practice. Graduates of the Regis College CNL program are prepared to be expert clinicians, educators, advocates, outcome and information managers who are leaders for the profession of nursing.

We invite you to download a free flyer to learn more and to hear what Regis students had to say about their experience!

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CNL Role

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) collaborated with nurse leaders in academic and practice settings to develop the CNL role in 2003. If you are interested in learning more about the first new role established in nursing in over three decades, please visit the AACN CNL website to answer the question What is a CNL?

Academic-Practice Partnerships

One of the hallmark strengths of CNL program across the country is the academic-practice partnerships between schools of nursing and healthcare organizations. At Regis College, our CNL program is a true collaboration between the university and the healthcare organizations we partner with. CNLs are admitted into the master’s program through an established partnership with an organization. Regis College and the practice partner collaborate to provide on-site courses and coordinate clinical placements in the final two semesters of the program.

Regis CNL program requires hospital partnership - students are admitted only if hospital/place of employment is an affiliating clinical partner of Regis

CNL Curriculum Plan

The Regis College CNL program is intended for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The part-time plan of study for students in the CNL program is designed to support individuals who are working and interested in pursuing graduate education. A total of 39 credits is required for graduation. Students are admitted in a cohort, usually a group of 15 or more RNs, and progress through the program with their cohort peers. The average program length is approximately two and a half years. Classes are typically held on a weekday evening at the practice partnership site with online assignments in between.

Current Hospital Partners

  • Brigham Health
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
    • Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

Coursework for CNL students reflects national recommendations and requirements for this unique role in nursing. Students will take courses in three core components: core graduate nursing courses designed for all students in a master’s nursing program; courses designed for the graduate level nurse who will be providing direct care; and a combination of coursework and learning experiences specific to the role of the CNL. Students will take courses in quality management, advanced research/evidence-based practice, informatics, nursing leadership, ethics, health policy and promotion, nursing theory, as well as advanced pathophysiology, health assessment, and pharmacology. Shared coursework with Regis students in the School of Health Sciences provides students with important inter-professional learning opportunities. CNL specific courses prepare students for the unique aspects of the CNL role in any healthcare setting. The final two semesters include a role class and clinical immersion course requiring a total of 400 clinical hours for leadership mentoring and completion of a capstone project

CNL Certification

Upon completion of the CNL program at Regis, students will be eligible to sit for the CNL Certification Examination offered by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC). Candidates who successfully pass the CNL Certification Examination proudly earn the credential of “CNL”.

For more information on the CNL Certification, please visit the AACN CNL Certification website. Additional information about CNL certification and the CNL role may be found on the website for the Clinical Nurse Leader Association (CNLA).

More Information

Whether you are an individual nurse who would like to find out more about the CNL master’s program at Regis or an administrator in a healthcare organization interested in establishing a formal academic-practice partnership, please contact the graduate admission counselor for more information:

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