CNL - is there a place for them

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I'm going to be getting more information about this at an info session, but am hoping someone here can enlighten me. One of the schools I'm considering has a CNL (Certified Nurse Leader) option for students with non-nursing bachelor's degrees. While it sounds like a good option, I'm wondering whether the degree is marketable. If you can't find a position as a CNL, can you be hired as an RN?


490 Posts

Btw, if you look on MD forum in regions, like sienna said, theres a lot of good info.

As for your CNL question, I considered the same thing (UMB's program) and decided to go with their traditional BSN. If they had an accelerated BSN, I would have done that without blinking. However, I was not willing to do a CNL program just to finish a few months earlier, all the while paying graduate school rates, which is much more expensive.

With a CNL you are a graduate level nurse, but a generalist. You don't really specialize in a particular field, which is the only reason I'd go and get a graduate degree anyway. It is relatively new and has yet to be widely disseminated, but no you won't have a problem with getting a regular RN job like if you had gotten a BSN or an ADN.

For me the decision was easy and went with the BSN traditional program. I also looked at JHU's accelerated BSN, but I decided that I didn't want to be in debt until I am 80.


14,633 Posts

There are a few existing threads here discussing the CNL role, with lots of discussion, which you could find and review if you're interested in reading what members have already said about it.


73 Posts


I'm currently in a CNL program. I was accepted into a few accelerated BSN programs but this was my reasoning. 2 years regardless, BSN vs MSN. Yeah, I wanted the higher degree. Most CNL grads are being hired as regular RNs. Some of the CNLs I've worked with are continuing in academia, some are in management positions. But when you first graduate, you are considered a novice, like any other BSN.

Now as I see it the MSN piece, though a generalist, will give you an edge if you want to do management or go further with your career.

What I really like about my CNL program is that I get 900 of 1:1 preceptored clinical hours by the time I graduate. I have a residency and capstone in my specialty of choice that covers the last 2 semesters. Its intense, but the classes are small and I get individualized attention. So far I'm really happy with my decision.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Your reasoning sounds good to me Katmarie26. I wish you the best of luck!

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