The Direct-Entry Master of Science - Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program offers an alternate path to nursing for those with a bachelor's degree or higher in a non-nursing discipline.
Clinical Nurse Leaders combine innovations in health care delivery with evidence-based practice to manage coordination of care. Whether providing acute care or assisting with decision-making in the transition to community or home care settings, clinical nurse leaders provide vital support to patients, their families, and providers.
The Direct-Entry Master of Science - CNL program fulfills the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) requirements to sit for the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification examination.
Custom curriculum tracks combine hands-on clinical experience with courses in advanced evidence-based practice, health care management and delivery of care. After completion of the pre-licensure (RN) year, students are encouraged to seek part-time nursing employment to provide the work experience to be active CNL change agents upon graduation.
Students complete their practicum hours at hospitals, clinics and other affiliate sites and agencies that provide experience in the variety of roles fulfilled by a clinical nurse leader, and implement a culminating, evidence-based capstone project.
A feature of the Master of Science – Clinical Nurse Leader program is UVM’s relationship with academic practice partners that include Appletree Bay Primary Care, the University of Vermont Medical Center, and other clinical agencies.
Pre-licensure Course Sequence for the Direct-Entry Master of Science - Clinical Nurse Leader
- GRNS 6000: Professional Nursing Issues
- GRNS 5280: Pharmacology
- GRNS 6020: The Science of Nursing: Adults and Elders I
- GRNS 6030: Practicum: Adults and Elders
- GRNS 5130: Pathophysiology
- GRNS 6040: Practicum: Adults and Elders II
- GRNS 6050: Practicum: Complex Nursing Care of Adults and Elders
- GRNS 6060: The Science of Nursing: Mental Health
- GRNS 6080: The Science of Nursing: Women and Newborns
- GRNS 6090: Practicum: Women and Newborns
- GRNS 5320: The Science of Nursing: Children
- GRNS 6120: The Science of Nursing: Adults and Elders II
- GRNS 6070: Practicum: Mental Health
- GRNS 6110: Practicum: Children
- GRNS 6140: The Science of Nursing: Community/Public Health
- GRNS 6150: Practicum: Community/Public Health
Year 1: Pre-licensure credit hours 36.5 and clinical hours 810
Post-licensure Course Sequence
- GRNS 6270: Advanced Topics in Healthcare Informatics
- GRNS 6350: Advanced Pathophysiology
- STAT 5000: Biostatistics and Epidemiology
- NH 6899: Fundamentals of Critical Inquiry
- GRNS 6280: Quality in Health Care
- CNL Seminar I
- GRNS 6260: Health Care Ethics, Policy, and Politics
- GRNS 6990: Advanced Pharmacology for the CNL
- CNL Practicum I
- GRNS 7060: Advanced Health Assessment
- GRNS 6210: Professional Role Development
- GRNS 6220: Organization, Delivery, and Financing of Health Care
- CNL Seminar II
- CNL Practicum II
- GRNS 6430: CNL Seminar III
- GRNS 6440: Immersion Practicum
Year 2-3: Post-licensure credit hours 36.75 and clinical hours 510
NOTES: The direct-entry program prepares students to progress into the M.S. - CNL track. It is not a stand-alone accelerated RN program. Completion of the direct-entry program allows students to take the NCLEX in the State of Vermont; this is not necessarily transferable to other states. Students who complete the M.S. degree and successfully complete the NCLEX are eligible to practice in any state with completion of the individual state Board of Nursing requirements. The UVM Course Catalogue details specific requirements as designated by catalogue year. Academic standards are outlined in the CNHS Nursing Graduate Student Handbook.
- Bachelor's degree or higher in non-nursing discipline
- College grade point average of 3.0 or higher
- Three letters of recommendation
- Prerequisite courses
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required, but may be included to complement your application.
For International Applicants:
- International students are eligible to receive an I-20 immigration document to participate in this program. However, whether a student has Vermont RN licensure or not to begin the program, UVM is unable to authorize students for nursing employment experiences while in the Program as off-campus authorization (CPT) would not be possible because of the curricular structure of our program. While limited on-campus work would be possible, the UVM Medical Center is not an on-campus employment location, so students should expect not to have any paid nursing opportunities if they come to the program as an F-1 student. Post-Graduate OPT would be an option for students completing the program. This program is not on the STEM Designated list and thus not eligible for OPT beyond one year. Further questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Certification Exam Pass Rate
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Academic Year 2022
Academic Year 2021
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Percentage of UVM students who passed the national certification exam
Frequently Asked Questions
Will courses be online, hybrid, or on campus?
Some courses are offered live on campus at scheduled times; others are offered in hybrid format with remote synchronous delivery or asynchronous delivery online. A car is needed for travel to rural sites.
Where do clinical nurse leaders work?
The CNL is prepared for nursing leadership in a variety of roles, including post-acute clinical navigator/coordinator, outcomes manager, patient advocate, educator, information manager, systems analyst/risk anticipator, and clinical nurse manager.
What about financial aid and tuition costs for the program?
For current information about financial aid, tuition, and fees, refer to the Student Financial Services website. If you have questions about whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident, refer to the Registrar's Residency Policy.
How can I find out if UVM has received my transcripts (or any other materials)?
UVM will notify you when application materials have been received.
When will I learn if I have been accepted to the program?
Applications will be reviewed in December and decisions will be sent by the end of January.
Can international students work while in the program?
International students are eligible to receive an I-20 immigration document to participate in this program. However, whether a student has Vermont RN licensure or not to begin the program, UVM is unable to authorize students for nursing employment experiences while in the Program as off-campus authorization (CPT) would not be possible because of the curricular structure of our program. While limited on-campus work would be possible, the UVM Medical Center is not an on-campus employment location, so students should expect not to have any paid nursing opportunities if they come to the program as an F-1 student. Post-Graduate OPT would be an option for students completing the program. This program is not on the STEM Designated list and thus not eligible for OPT beyond one year. Further questions can be directed to email@example.com.
Accreditation: The Master's degree in Nursing program at the University of Vermont is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).