confused about UCLA's MSN/MECN program vs a MEPN program

  1. Hello all,

    What is the difference between a clinical nurse and a nurse practitioner? Does MECN = MEPN?
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   chris31
    MECN stands for Master's in Entry-Level Clinical Nursing. This is the acronym UCLA uses for their accelerated MSN program for those holding a non-nursing Bachelor's degree. MEPN stands for Master's in Entry-Level Professional Nursing. CSUDH, I know, uses this acronym. How nice would it be if it was the same? Since, essentially, it's the same type of program. Silly, I know
  4. by   PlasticBertrand
    Actually, the degrees you receive from the two programs are very different. MEPN is a 3 year program. The students who graduate from MEPN become an RN and receive an NP (nurse practitioner) or CNS (clinical nurse specialist) degree.
    MECN, on the other hand, is a 2 year program. At the end of the program, you become an RN and become eligible to take an exam for a CNL (clinical nurse leader) certification. Instead of receiving an NP or CNS title as graduates do from a MEPN program, MECN graduates get a regular MSN degree. CNL is a degree/certification that was recently proposed by the AACN ( American Association of Colleges of Nursing). Not a lot of nurses and hospitals know about this title/certification, so you might want to do some research on this website ( if you are thinking about applying to a MECN program.
  5. by   chris31
    This is not true. I am a MEPN student and it is not a 3 year program. It is 20 months and is exactly what you described for the MECN program. This program does not at all lead to advanced practice certification. You do earn an MSN, but you are still an entry-level nurse upon completion, not advanced practice. As mentioned before, they are the same type of program leading to CNL certification. UCLA is one school I know that has adopted the MECN acronym and CSUDH is one that has adopted MEPN. However, they are the same program. You can look them up on the nursing websites for each school and compare and contrast. You will find neither of the 2 are advanced practice. You can however use some of the units obtained in the MECN or MEPN program to continue on to an advanced practice specialty such as CNS or NP.
  6. by   PlasticBertrand
    Ok, perhaps we're confusing the MEPN program. I thought the original question was referring to UCSF's MEPN program. That program is 3 years long and as a graduate, you do become an NP or CNS.
  7. by   chris31
    Oh, I see! So apparently the UCSF program goes above and beyond my program. It seems we're completing the same components in the first 2 years however UCSF goes on to a third year to complete the advanced practice component. Got it!
  8. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    Different schools call their entry programs different things. Some are Direct Entry Masters to specialty programs (Advanced Practice), others are Direct Entry Masters to generalist (often for the Clinical Nurse Leader program). Direct Entry to Advanced Practice progams are administed at many schools (including Penn, UCSF, Yale and several others).

    Here at Virginia, we offer the second option. We call it "Direct Entry: Clinical Nurse Leader", and it is similar to the MECN program at UCLA, the GEM at Rush, and the CNL at Maryland. There latter programs are almost identical, but all have distinct titles.
  9. by   chris31
    Well, since we're on the subject I know the "CNL" is more abundant on the East coast and is fairly new here on the West. How has it been received? I know over here, there is a lot of experienced nurses who take issue with a "Non-Nurse" receiving a MSN. I think they believe we are going to be advanced practice nurses. I'm so torn between downplaying the degree (at least for the beginning of my career) b/c I feel it may intimidate other nurses and they won't want to help and teach me. Once I gain experience, it would be unfair to discount the degrees I have earned. What's your opinion on the role/program? (The generalist one)
  10. by   UVA Grad Nursing

    There are CNL programs all across the country:
    Over 1/2 of these programs enroll BSN-prepared nurses, about 1/4 are Direct Entry programs, and the other 1/4 are ADN-MSN.

    We started our Direct Entry program in 2005, and graduated our first students in 2007 with a 100% NCLEX rate. Unlike most entry-level nursing prorgams (ADN, BSN, or direct entry programs), every one of our clinicals are precepted 1:1 (over 1000 hours of practica). The seasoned RNs at our partner sites (UVA Medical Center and a VA Hospital) were at first skeptical, but now both host sites want to hire everyone. The CNL is not an advanced-practice role, but enables masters-prepared RNs to remain at the beside with more skills and abilities to conduct outcomes-focused care. As part of any CNL program, graduates work on a capstone project. Many of these project ideas have come from other nurses and managers for the CNLs to undertake. Some recent capstone project at UVA have including 'greening the OR' (recycling a ton of plastic every month), better planning to discharge by noon, a project to increase paternal bonding in the NICU, etc. These have been projects that no one had the time to undertake before -- and many have been adopted as part of practice now.

    After having our CNL program for 4 years, we have found the RNs who were negative about the project in 2004 and 2005 are now the ones volunteering to be preceptors for new students. We welcome the help from these 'converts' as well. Some of our earlier grads are now precepting the new students too.

    Not all hospitals in the country are using the CNL graduate in the way that they have been preapred. Some employers are using them only as regular floor nurses. But more employers (especially those interested in the Magnet venture) are interested in the CNL programs.