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Nursing (D.N.P.) - Clinical Nurse Leader Specialization

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Delivering excellent care.

The clinical nurse leader or CNL program prepares nurses to assume advanced roles as clinical nurse leaders (CNLs) to transform clinical practice as expert clinicians and leaders, focusing on rural and underserved populations. In addition to delivering evidence-based and outcomes-based care to individuals across the lifespan, the program prepares nurses to serve as experts within the microsystem to produce and implement outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies, while being prepared to work collaboratively with rural communities and providers to reduce health disparities.

The CNL is a clinical leader who focuses on:

  • Care coordination
  • Outcomes measurement
  • Transitions of care
  • Interprofessional communication and team leadership
  • Risk assessment
  • Implementation of best practices based on evidence
  • Quality improvement

Upon completion of the CNL specialization, graduates will be eligible for the clinical nurse leader certification.

For more information please visit Doctor of Nursing Practice.

College of Nursing Fast Facts

College of Nursing Graduate Student Enrollment


2022 APRN Pass Rate


American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board

2022-2023 College of Nursing Scholarships





Is it for you?

This program will be a good fit if you:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree in nursing.
  • Like to collaborate in an interprofessional role.
  • Have strong communication skills.
  • Are interested in safety and quality improvement in healthcare.
  • Are interested in serving as a resource for nursing and overseeing the coordination of care.

Career Opportunities

  • Acute care/inpatient
  • Home care
  • Long term care
  • Clinics
  • Nursing education
  • Community/public health
  • Hospice
  • Rural health care

Recent Employers

  • Avera Health
  • Monument Health
  • Sanford Health
  • VA Health Care Systems
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Academic institutions