University of Portland Bulletin 2015-2016

Master of Science—Clinical Nurse Leader

The clinical nurse leader (C.N.L.) master's program option prepares graduates as leaders in the nursing care of clients in a variety of care settings. The C.N.L. with a broad-based graduate nursing education, oversees the care coordination of a distinct group of clients–individuals, families, or populations. The C.N.L. actively provides direct care in complex situations. This clinician puts evidence-based practice into action to ensure that clients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The C.N.L. evaluates client outcomes, assesses patients’ risks, and functions as part of an interdisciplinary team by communicating, planning, and implementing care directly with other health care professionals.

The C.N.L. master's program option incorporates professional standards and guidelines from the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011), and the Competencies and Curricular Expectations for Clinical Nurse Leader Education and Practice (AACN, 2013), in preparation of the curriculum and evaluation of outcomes.

All Clinical Nurse Leader students are required to complete a scholarly project. The CNL project is designed for the student to meet AACN Clinical Nurse Leader Education and Practice Competencies, including but not limited to clinician, educator, risk anticipator and team manager. The project is designed to facilitate evidence-based organizational change identified through a systematic assessment of the microsystem. Projects integrate best practices, principles of effective leadership and negotiation skills, use of information systems to evaluate patient outcomes, and theories of organizational behavior in the design of the project. Examples of student projects may include evaluating and/or modifying current practice standards, increasing clinical application of evidence-based interventions, or adapting or designing a research based intervention. Students will develop, implement and evaluate the CNL project in the three clinical courses in the second year of the program.

C.N.L. Program Goals

The goals of the C.N.L. master's program option reflect the mission of the School of Nursing with the focus on providing and managing quality and effective care at the point of care to individuals, clinical populations and communities. The goals, competencies, and outcomes are in alignment with professional nursing standards and guidelines.

The goals of the C.N.L. master's program option are to graduate advanced generalist nurses who:

  1. Demonstrate leadership in the healthcare delivery system by effecting change through knowledge, advocacy and effective communication to achieve quality client outcomes and lateral integration of care for a cohort of clients;
  2. Practice as care environment managers delegating and effectively using systems assessment, nursing, and interdisciplinary team resources and information systems and technology to improve health care outcomes, quality and safety at the point of care;
  3. Manage clinical outcomes for a group of patients through advanced nursing practice utilizing designed care, evidence-based guidelines, and quality care standards, and use of best practices to facilitate client and provider teaching and learning.

C.N.L. Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor of science degree in nursing from a school of nursing accredited by an appropriate national nursing accrediting body.
  2. Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) in their bachelor of science degree in nursing.
  3. Graduate Record Examination (G.R.E.) verbal score of 150 or above (500 or above if exam was completed prior to August 1, 2011) and an analytical writing score of 3.5 or above; or a score of 50 or greater on the Miller Analogies Test (M.A.T.). Applicants with a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 or above in their most recent nursing degree are not required to submit G.R.E. or M.A.T. scores. 
  4. TOEFL iBT score of 100 or a IELTS score of 7.5 if native language is not English.
  5. Current unencumbered R.N. license to practice nursing in state of residence.  R.N. licensure in Oregon is encouraged. Additional costs may be incurred for clinical placements outside of Oregon. 
  6. A written statement of personal nursing philosophy and how becoming a nurse leader will help achieve personal and professional career goals.
  7. Two letters of recommendation from persons able to evaluate current competency in nursing and potential for nursing practice as a master's prepared leader.  One from a nursing professor if applicant graduated within five years and one from a practice setting (employer, supervisor); if graduated over five years ago, provide two letter of recommendation from the current practice setting (employer, supervisor) who can speak to potential for success in the program. 
  8. A college-level statistics course with a grade of B or better within five years of acceptance into the program.
  9. Current résumé.
  10. An admission interview upon request of the School of Nursing.

Degree Requirements

Clinical Nurse Leader Program of Study

NRS 500Methods of Inquiry


NRS 501Theoretical and Ethical Foundations for Advanced Roles in Nursing


NRS 503Scholarly Writing


NRS 534The Role of the CNL


NRS 566Resources Management in the Micro Environment


NRS 567Communication and Relationships


NRS 568Information Knowledge Systems


NRS 569Human Population Ecology


NRS 570Advanced Clinical Foundations


NRS 585Foundations of Integrative Health


NRS 587Evidence for Integrative Health


NRS 589Methods for Improving Practice


NRS 593Clinical Nurse Leader as Practice I


NRS 595Clinical Nurse Leader as Practice II


NRS 596Clinical Nurse Leader Residency


Total Credit Hours:42

Total Credit Hours: 42