Clinical Nurse Leader Programs

  1. Hello,

    I just registered for allnurses.com even though I've been reading this site for months now. I am planning on applying to different nursing programs and I wanted to know what a student's experience is like in a clinical nurse leader direct-entry MSN program. My first choice program is University of Maryland Clinical Nurse Leader MSN program. Are you able to work in this type of program? Can this program prepare you to go into a NP program? Any feedback will be appreciated. :spin:
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   arciedee
    I am in a direct-entry CNL program, though not at the University of Maryland. I don't know how their program is set up, but I can tell you about my experience. We go to school full-time (well, more than full-time for most of it) for 16 months prior to sitting for the NCLEX-RN. During that time some of my classmates have been able to work part-time, averaging maybe 10 hours a week. The challenge, at least in our program, is that the school demands that you be flexible with scheduling. Clinicals can take place on evenings and weekends as well as weekdays and students may have to travel over an hour to get to a clinical site. Some employers may be able to accomodate that variability, but others may not. On the plus side, though, after we finish the first portion of the program and pass the NCLEX, the program goes down to part-time and we are expected to work full-time as nurses to gain real-world experience while we complete the coursework.

    As for whether this is a good preparation for an NP program... I know that many of us are thinking of going on for a post-grad certificate, another master's, or a doctorate at some point after this. We do take many of the same courses as the traditional NP students at my school, so it's nice to know that we will have some of those out of the way. The CNL is intended to be an entirely different role, though. If your primary goal is to become an NP in the next few years, you may wish to explore either direct-entry NP programs or an accelerated BSN as preparation to go into a traditional NP program. But you can certainly go on later for the NP with this degree.
  4. by   *TK8
    Thank you for your response arciedee:spin:.
  5. by   Spacklehead
    I am an NP student, but the school I attend graduated its first CNL students last year and they were in several of the same core courses as me (patho, pharm, theory, research, advanced assessment, etc.). Also, they all worked full-time while attending school and I didn't hear any of them say that they had any problems between school/work. The CNL program at my school is designed for the working professional, so that probably plays a big part - plus, their employers (at least for the first graduating class) encouraged them to get the CNL degree, so upon graduation they had positions already designed for them.
  6. by   *ac*
    Quote from gnursetobe
    Hello,

    I just registered for allnurses.com even though I've been reading this site for months now. I am planning on applying to different nursing programs and I wanted to know what a student's experience is like in a clinical nurse leader direct-entry MSN program. My first choice program is University of Maryland Clinical Nurse Leader MSN program. Are you able to work in this type of program? Can this program prepare you to go into a NP program? Any feedback will be appreciated. :spin:
    I went to Maryland for my BSN alongside the CNL students. They took EXACTLY the same classes, only with more work assigned, in an accelerated format, and paid twice the tuition. They sat with us in the same lectures, but their syllabus was different - more papers, etc., and higher scores required for passing.
    When you graduate you are qualified to work as an RN, just like the rest of us. Can you go on to NP? Sure, but so can a BSN in the same amount of time for the same amount of money.

    Just so you know, lots of people who already have degrees go for the BSN - because it's cheaper, less busy work, more sane, and you are equally as qualified when you finish.
  7. by   *TK8
    Thanks for your input ac. Do you think it is difficult to get into the BSN program if you already have a bachelor's degree in another field? I was leaning towards the CNL since it is a master's program, but I am also concerned about the cost of the program.
  8. by   *ac*
    Quote from gnursetobe
    Thanks for your input ac. Do you think it is difficult to get into the BSN program if you already have a bachelor's degree in another field? I was leaning towards the CNL since it is a master's program, but I am also concerned about the cost of the program.
    I don't know if it's harder to get in, but I doubt it - there were a lot 2nd degrees in my class.

    I just don't see what an MSN gets you without the NP. It really seems like a way to get graduate tuition from you when you will make the same money as a BSN when you graduate. Don't let anybody kid you about this. An RN is and RN when it comes to starting salaries. Opening doors down the road may depend on advanced degrees, but that's another issue.

    If you want to go straight into a doctorate degree, like the DNP, or if you are hell-bent on finishing in 18 months, maybe CNL is a good idea. (Even the extra 6 months of potential salary won't make up the difference in the cost of CNL over BSN.) I can't think of any other reason to do it.

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