CNL Masters vs BSN?

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    CNL Masters vs BSN? Anyone seeing the use of CNL ( Clinical Nurse Leaders) in the work place? I need to decide in two days which program to choose, both are 2 years for non- nursing degree holders. Not sure about the value of the CNL...help?

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  2. 7 Comments...

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    Quote from cacurlytop
    CNL Masters vs BSN? Anyone seeing the use of CNL ( Clinical Nurse Leaders) in the work place? I need to decide in two days which program to choose, both are 2 years for non- nursing degree holders. Not sure about the value of the CNL...help?
    If the CNL degree is trully a Masters degree then I would be inclined to say get the Masters. Additionally, it depends on what your focus is going to be in nursing. The CNL, according to one website I found, is a leadership focus.
    This program will assist nurses in developing advanced clinical knowledge, leadership skills, and systems knowledge to provide clinical leadership in all healthcare settings at the point of service
    http://healthprofessions.udmercy.edu.../cnl/index.htm

    If you are thinking you want to be more of a bedside nurse or an educator then the CNL may not be the right focus. But, here is food for thought. Nurses need to be leaders. Once you get one Master's degree you can always get a "certificate" in other Master's programs. And this program will be the same length as the BSN. I am assuming you will be paying the same or at best slightly more for the Masters.

    Having gotten first an ADN, then a BSN, and finally an MSN-Ed I can assure you that cheaper and faster should be HIGH on your list as a consideration.
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    Our CNL was the nurse manager's right hand (wo)man. Basically she got to enforce all the unpopular red tape that came down the administration pipe, deal with the docs, bed flow, chase us all around about getting our competencies done each year, attend meetings all the time, and function as the charge nurse over the charge nurse. And she responded to all the rapid responses on our floor. I guess that qualifies as patient care. And she once brought me a coude from the urology floor but she was out of the room before I could get the sterile gloves on.
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    None of the hospitals in my region in the Southeast are using CNLs. I think this was a concept developed by the academic institutions rather than a response to an expressed need from the healthcare community. I would certainly not recommend the MSN-CNL program if it is significantly more expensive than the BSN program -- I can't really see a benefit to justify the additional expense.
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    Our CNL's were the 1st to go when the economy took a dive. Now our 2 RN's who are almost finished in the program, that were once promised a job somewhere in the organization, are stuck at the bedside with a mountain of debt.
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    Thanks and keep the comments coming please! The cost isn't that much more, and the time is bascically the same, an additional summer for the CNL. There is a slightly different class focus, with theory, leadership, case studies etc, but to sit for the NCLEX there is still clinical hours and rotations. I wouldn't use it at first, to get a few years of bed side nursing, and may never use it. So I either will have two Bachelors degrees, or a bachelors (sociology) and this controversial Masters????Not sure what to do?? So many mixed opinions on the value of a CNL ??
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    Here is my opinion.

    I am planning on starting a CNL program next fall (2011.) so although not a grad, I have done a lot of research on the subject. It totally depends on what system you work in, the local market, etc. on whether or not you are going to find a job. It is a NEW role -- less than 10 years old, so the job opportunities are still developing. You might have a tough time finding a job at first as a CNL but probably in the future there will be more work. And, Master's degreed nurses will always have a lot more opportunities for them than lower degreed ones. I am sure you could use a Masters in another way if no care systems around you are employing CNLs.

    I am not sure that a newly licensed RN would be appropriate for the role, however -- so I think this aspect of the program you are applying to is controversial. You will certainly have the education to back up a Master's degreed role BUT with no experience, I do not think you would be in any position to walk into a role as a clinical leader. Maybe someone would hire you as one, but probably not. I think it's a toss-up. Likely you are going to have to find a job and get at least a couple years of experience working as staff before you would be able to have success as a CNL without actually knowing way, way less than the nurses you were supposed to be leading.

    The VA system has a big national initiative for CNLs. They want every patient care unit in the hospital setting to have one by 2014 (I work in the VA system, so I know.) It is strongly supported there, and the VA is national. Likely you could find one near you or you could find work somewhere else in the country in that system. I am not sure how the private sector is implementing the role, if at all. It is wise for you to be skeptical of the job opportunities available to you (as you are.)
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    Any new information on the MSN/CNL degree for non-nurses...anyone considering it? Has the job opportunities opened up...how long did it take you to get in this role?


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