20 Best Online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Programs – 2023
Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Are you a registered nurse interested in being a leader in nursing care? Does the idea of working with nursing teams to promote patient safety, better work environments, and positive patient and organizational outcomes sound like something you would enjoy? If so, have you considered becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader?
A Clinical Nurse Leader is a graduate-level nurse prepared to practice across the continuum of care in diverse settings. MSN-clinical nurse leader programs can help you prepare for a role in clinical nursing leadership. Maybe you thought of earning a graduate degree and becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader but feel like campus-based learning is not a good fit for you. If so, you may wonder, “What are the best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs?”
Choosing the school where you will earn your degree is a major decision. In this article, I will share information with you to help make the decision easier. As you read on, you will find a guide to the 20 best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs for 2023. You will discover information about what it takes to get into the programs, the cost of earning your degree, and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this career path. By the time you have finished reading, you will have enough insight to determine if this is an academic and career path you wish to pursue.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAM?
The goal of online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs is to prepare registered nurses with a graduate degree focused on leading healthcare teams in changing the safety and quality of healthcare. These programs equip students with the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills needed to address common challenges in today’s healthcare environment, including nursing retention, utilizing the full scope of practice for nurses, addressing issues of fragmentation of care, and opportunities for advancement.
In these programs, you will develop skills that you can use to add value to any hospital or healthcare organization by implementing evidence-based practice fiscal strategies and educational strategies to improve patient and organizational outcomes.
7 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAM
When you pursue your degree through one of the nation’s best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs, you will develop important skills and abilities to help you succeed. Your program is designed to give you classroom instruction coupled with clinical learning experiences where you can put those skills and abilities into practice. The following are seven of the most important skills and abilities you will gain in MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs.
1. You will learn to implement the best nursing practices based on evidence:
Online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs will teach you to implement evidence-based practices
in nursing leadership and management. This is a critical skill because nurse leaders who support evidence-based practices are known to create a culture of inquiry that utilizes the best evidence for supporting patient care and promoting positive outcomes.
2. You will learn when the transition of care is appropriate and your role as a leader in care transition:
As a Clinical Nurse Leader, you will be involved in the process of transferring patient care from one setting or level of care to another. For example, patients may transition from an intensive care unit to a step-down unit or from a hospital to home. Because the point of care transition can be a vulnerable point in the healthcare continuum, you will learn when the transition is appropriate, how to implement measures for effective transition of care, and what your role as a leader is in the care coordination process.
3. You will learn risk assessment strategies and how to implement those strategies to promote patient safety:
Clinical Nurse Leaders play a vital role in managing best nursing practices that affect patient safety. In MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs, you will learn measures to assess risks to patient safety and how to create and sustain a culture of safety in the healthcare environment.
4. You will develop the ability to use interdisciplinary collaboration to promote healthcare delivery and design:
Clinical Nurse Leaders are an integral part of establishing visions and objectives that reflect a healthcare organization's commitment to patient safety and improved outcomes. In online MSN-CNL programs, you will learn to collaborate with members of the healthcare team and administration with the goal of advancing patient and organizational safety, which leads to better outcomes for patients, staff, and organizations.
5. You will learn to implement quality improvement measures within your organization:
Nurse leaders must establish and maintain an environment that engages nursing teams in patient safety and quality improvement activities. In online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs, you will learn to share patient performance outcome data, promote open communication within the interdisciplinary team, and enforce teamwork to provide a supportive environment.
6. You will learn effective team-building strategies:
Strong Clinical Nurse Leaders appreciate the importance of building strong teams. In your MSN-clinical nurse leader program, you will learn strategies for team building
, including measures to establish team goals, how to assign roles within your team, how to handle conflicts proactively, and how to promote open communication that is mutually respectful.
7. You will learn ethical decision-making principles:
To be effective as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you must learn to act in an ethical manner. Online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs will provide you with opportunities to develop ethical principles on a more advanced level than your undergraduate nursing degree and teach you to implement those principles in practice and leadership.
5 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS
Online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs offer excellent opportunities for professional growth and development. Like any career in healthcare, these programs offer graduates several advantages. The following are five main advantages of earning your degree through one of the best MSN-CNL online programs in the nation.
1. The job outlook for Clinical Nurse Leaders is awesome!:
A major factor that most people consider when choosing a career path is whether the job outlook is promising. The outlook for Clinical Nurse Leaders is expected to remain good through at least 2031. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this specialty will see an increase in jobs of more than 45%.
2. You can use your knowledge and skills to educate future nurses:
One of the biggest advantages of online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs is they prepare you with the knowledge and skills needed to educate others pursuing a nursing degree. Your clinical expertise and leadership abilities can be instrumental in training new nurses to provide high-quality care, which can positively impact the profession for years to come.
3. You can earn an excellent income:
Clinical Nurse Leaders earn an average of $102,129 per year. This income is much higher than other incomes reported by the BLS. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the average income is by no means a limit to your earning potential. Based on your job title, work setting, and years of experience, you can earn a much higher salary.
4. You can leverage your degree and knowledge to lobby for healthcare change on a government level:
Legislators and lawmakers value nursing expertise and often collaborate with nurses on issues impacting healthcare legislation. When you earn your degree from one of the best MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs, you use your knowledge and clinical experiences to advocate for healthcare changes at government levels. Your actions could help improve patient safety, optimize healthcare work environments, and promote positive outcomes for both patients and the profession.
5. You can work in diverse settings based on your personal preference and career goals:
Another advantage of earning your degree through online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs is that you are not limited to working only in a hospital or physician's office. After you complete your program and become certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you can work in a variety of settings. You may choose a role in a hospital, acute care clinic, academia, or other settings.
3 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS
While MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs have a lot to offer, they are not without downsides or disadvantages. Knowing what to expect and preparing for challenges ahead in your program and career can help you overcome the disadvantages and increase your likelihood of success.
1. The role of a Clinical Nurse Leader can be stressful:
Working as a Clinical Nurse Leader means overseeing teams of nurses. The decisions you make will impact patients, nurses, and the organizations for whom you work. You must learn to develop strong relationships and trust your own judgment. Also, be willing to admit when you need help or a break because there are many ways to manage stress
, which can make you a more effective leader.
2. There may be times when you are perceived as the “bad guy:”
Unfortunately, leadership roles in nursing come with the responsibility of making difficult decisions, which could make others view you as the bad guy in a situation. Clinical Nurse Leaders evaluate employee performance and implement measures to improve performance and outcomes. As such, you will have difficult conversations and address issues that others may prefer to leave well enough alone. Your confidence in your knowledge and clinical experience will help you overcome these tough situations.
3. You get stuck dealing with nurse burnout and finding ways to promote staff retention:
Nurse burnout is a true concern for nurses of all degree levels working in various settings. A nationwide shortage of nurses and increased health concerns, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to even greater numbers of nurses leaving the profession. As a Clinical Nurse Leader, you will be taxed with finding solutions to nurse burnout and staff retention
, which can take time, effort, and a lot of hard work on your part.
WHO ACCREDITS MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS?
One of the most important things to consider when searching for online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs is whether the program is accredited. The top programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
WHEN DO MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS START?
The best MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs offer various start times. Some programs offer only one or two start dates each year. Others offer multiple start dates. Further, some programs have a rolling admission policy and begin classes when they have enough applicants to fill a class. The following are examples of start dates for five of the best programs in the United States.
The University of Pittsburgh
offers three start times each year
, one in each of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
At Rush University
, the program has three start dates. You can choose to begin your studies in the spring, summer, or fall semester
• James Madison University
accepts applications on a rolling admission
basis until classes are full, then begins the class in the following semester.
• Lander University
begins its online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program in the fall semester
• Sacred Heart University
offers six start dates
yearly for its program.
HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS?
The credit requirements for online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs can vary from program to program. Most programs require students to complete between 35 and 45 credits. However, your previous academic accomplishments and number of transferrable credits may mean you need fewer credits to earn the degree. When you apply to programs, you must provide official college or university transcripts, which will be evaluated to determine the number of credits you need. The following is a list of credit requirements for five of this article’s featured programs before transfer credits are awarded.
The online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of Texas Medical Branch
is a 43-credit program
• South Dakota State University’s
program requires students to complete 36 credits
The online MSN-clinical nurse leader program at Saint Xavier University
features a 38-credit curriculum
Students enrolled in the program at the University of South Alabama complete 36 credits
At Queens University of Charlotte
, the MSN Clinical Nurse Leader online program is a 37-credit hour pathway
HOW LONG ARE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS?
MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs typically take between two and three years to complete. Some programs give students the option of enrolling part-time or full-time, while others have only one program of study. Whether you enroll on a part-time or full-time basis will be the main factor in determining how long it takes you to graduate from the program. Below are a few examples of the length of five of the nation’s top programs.
The University of Iowa
offers part-time and full-time
enrollment options for its program. You can complete your degree in two years if you enroll full-time or three years if you opt for part-time study.
At the University of Louisiana at Monroe
, you can complete the program in as few as 20 months
The program offered at the Western University of Health Sciences
is designed to be completed in five semesters
, including one summer term.
• West Coast University’s
online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program can be completed in as few as eight months or up to 36 months
At Montana University
, the program is offered in a five-semester format
HOW MUCH DO MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS COST?
One of the most important factors prospective students consider is the cost of a degree program. Online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs can cost from $25,000 to $50,000 or more. A few factors that may determine your total cost are whether you receive any scholarships or grants or if you are required to pay out-of-state tuition rates. Some schools charge tuition based on a per-credit rate, while others charge tuition per semester. If you choose a school that charges based on a per-credit rate, you could reduce your total cost if you have transferrable credits. The following are some examples of the cost of some of the nation’s top programs.
The University of Pittsburgh
charges $1,231 per credit for graduate tuition. The online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program is a 43-credit program, which means tuition costs approximately $52,933
Tuition at James Madison University
is determined by whether you live in Virginia or out-of-state. Resident students pay $545 per credit hour, and non-resident students pay $1,272 per credit hour. The program requires 38 credits, which means you will pay between $20,710 and $48,336
At Saint Xavier University
, the program costs $750 per credit hour or $28,500
The program at Rush University
is a 37-credit pathway that costs $1286 per credit hour. Therefore, the total cost of tuition averages $47,582
Tuition at Sacred Heart University
costs $695 per credit hour. The program features a 39-credit curriculum, which means tuition averages approximately $27,105
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS?
Most online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader programs require a minimum grade point average of 3.0. However, admission criteria vary among schools. Some schools consider your cumulative GPA for all attempted college coursework, while others review your BSN coursework grade point average.
For example, at the University of Louisiana at Monroe
, you need a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8
on a 4.0 scale for your BSN coursework. The University of Pittsburgh
and the University of Texas Medical Branch
require a minimum 3.0 GPA. At the University of Texas Medical Branch, if your cumulative GPA is 3.5 or higher, the GRE requirement is waived.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS?
The admission requirements for top MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs are established by the schools offering the programs. Although some criteria vary, general admission requirements are quite similar. For example, applicants are expected to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an active license to practice as a registered nurse in the state where clinicals will take place. Also, schools determine the minimum grade point average needed for admission and any prerequisites that must be completed. You will also be asked to submit supplemental documents, such as an admissions essay, statement of intent, official college transcripts, and letters of recommendation.
The following are the admission requirements for five of the best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs in the nation.
At Central Methodist University
, applicants must have
a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a college or university accredited by the CNEA, CCNE, or ACEN, a BSN grade point average of at least 3.0, and an active, undisciplined R.N. license. Candidates must have completed a Statistics course with a minimum grade of "C" and provide a resume and cover letter, a professional writing sample, and two letters of recommendation.
• Admission requirements
for the online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program at La Roche University
include the following. Candidates must possess a BSN earned from an accredited nursing program and must provide transcripts reflecting a cumulative college GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must submit an online application
, a current resume or curriculum vitae, a professional and academic goals essay, and two letters of recommendation. One year of work experience as a registered nurse and an admission interview are also required.
Admission to the program offered at Lander University
requires meeting the following criteria
. You must be a graduate of a baccalaureate nursing program that is accredited by the CCNE or NLNAC and have an overall BSN grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Candidates must have a current, unencumbered South Carolina or Nursing Compact R.N. or APRN license. You must complete an undergraduate Statistics course with a grade of “C” or higher and pass a criminal background check, drug screen, and physical exam. Additionally, you must provide a professional resume, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts from any college or university you have attended, and a Statement of Purpose.
The University of Pittsburgh’s
online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program has the following admission requirements
. You must have a BSN from an ACICS-, ACEN-, or CCNE- accredited nursing program and possess an active R.N. license with no encumbrances in the state where clinical requirements will be completed. Candidates must complete an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of "B-" or higher, have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and submit satisfactory GRE scores. If your GPA is 3.5 or higher, the GRE may be waived. Additional documents required for consideration include three letters of professional reference, an admissions essay, and official transcripts from all colleges or universities where college credits were attempted.
for the Saint Xavier University
program have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an ACEN- or CCNE- accredited nursing program, have a current, unrestricted R.N. license, and have one year of clinical nursing experience. You must provide a graduate student application, a copy of your current R.N. license, a personal statement, one letter of recommendation from a nursing professional or recent nursing professor, and a current resume or curriculum vitae.
WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS?
The curriculum for MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs includes MSN core courses, MSN support courses, clinical nurse leader specialty courses, and clinicals. You will study topics such as advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, evidence-based practice and quality improvement, and roles and competencies relevant to Clinical Nurse Leaders. The following are examples of classes included in the curriculum of five programs featured in this article.
At Rush University
, the curriculum
for the online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program includes classes such as Antiracism in Organizational Leadership, Advanced Health Assessment for Advanced Practice Nursing Across the Lifespan, Research for Evidence-Based Practice, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Advanced Pharmacology.
The program at Colby Sawyer University
features a rich curriculum
with classes including Health Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning for the Advanced Practitioner, Population Health, Advanced Role Development in Nursing, Healthcare Systems, Policy & Leadership, and Evidence-Based Practice & Applied Nursing Research.
Students pursuing the program offered by the University of Detroit Mercy
study in classes
such as Advanced Theory & Knowledge Development for Clinical Practice, Transformational Leadership & Innovation in Advanced Practice, Healthcare Policy, Economics & the Law in Clinical Practice, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Population Health & Care Transitions Management.
At Central Methodist University
, you will take classes
, including Healthcare Issues & Policy, Healthcare Finance & Economics, Population Health, Clinical Management of Selected Patient Populations, and the Professional Role of the Nursing Leader.
for the program offered at La Roche University
includes classes like Research & Evidence-Based Practice, Role of the Clinical Nurse Leader in Healthcare Microsystems, Health Policy & Global Considerations, Comprehensive Pathophysiology, and Foundations for Clinical Nurse Leader Role.
WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS?
When you pursue your degree from one of the best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs, you will participate in practical training opportunities designed to help you implement and hone skills essential for the Clinical Nurse Leader role. Most programs require students to complete between 400 and 500 clinical hours. However, the practical training requirement may vary from one school to another.
At the University of Pittsburgh
, students complete 420 clinical hours
in the online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader program. Clinicals are divided into four practicum experiences, with the first in the third term of the program. The university offers clinical placement assistance to help you locate clinical sites and preceptors in settings near your home region.
Students enrolled in the program offered at Lander University
complete a minimum of 500 hours of clinical practicum
. Clinical placements are coordinated collaboratively between the university and student in areas closest to your geographic location, when possible and appropriate. The Clinical Nurse Leader practical training is divided into three practicum experiences.
At South Alabama University
, you will complete 540 clinical hours
. Clinicals occur in two practicum experiences, one with 300 hours and the other with 240 hours of hands-on practice. Students may identify desired clinical sites and preceptors and submit their choices to clinical faculty for approval. Whenever possible, clinical training requirements are completed in the student’s home region.
The program offered at Saint Xavier University
includes 450 clinical practicum hours
. The practicum requirements are divided into three practicum experiences, each with a corresponding clinical course. The College of Nursing works with students to identify appropriate clinical sites and qualified preceptors.
At Rush University
, students in the online MSN-clinical nurse leader program complete 400 clock hours of clinical training. The Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum gives you the opportunity to integrate CNL roles in case management, education, and CNL practice. You will participate in five weeks of clinical training in each of these settings.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?
(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 20 Best Online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Programs in the nation for the year 2023.)
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
3 MAJOR CHALLENGES STUDENTS FACE IN ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS AND HOW TO OVERCOME
MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs provide educational opportunities that lead to excellent career options. Like any graduate degree program, there are challenges, though. In online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs, you will learn to face the challenges that come with the CNL role and develop ways to overcome common challenges. Three major challenges students in these programs face include the following.
CHALLENGE #1: Learning to Promote Effective Change Management
About the Challenge:
Clinical Nurse Leaders are responsible for recruiting and coaching teams of leaders who drive support for positive change within their organizations. Change management is the process of supporting nurses through changes with the goal of promoting long-term success relevant to those changes. Learning to promote effective change management can be challenging because it involves helping people change their attitudes, behaviors, and work processes to achieve a broader objective and organizational-based outcome.
How to Overcome:
The first step in learning to promote change management is to be willing to grow and change yourself. Effective Clinical Nurse Leaders lead by example. To do this, you must take every opportunity to learn what makes your organization work and what does not, evaluate patient and staff needs with the goal of making positive change, and be willing to learn from experienced leaders.
CHALLENGE #2: Learning to Deal with Nurse Burnout
About the Challenge:
One of the biggest challenges Clinical Nurse Leaders face is the result of nurse burnout. Because Clinical Nurse Leaders work to promote positive work environments and quality patient care, nurse burnout is a serious problem.
How to Overcome:
I encourage students desiring to become Clinical Nurse Leaders to take opportunities to learn from other leaders. Also, think about what does or does not work for you as a nurse. What makes you feel overwhelmed and leaves you wondering if you should quit nursing? When you think like a nurse in a clinical role, you are more likely to search for and find solutions that help deal with issues like burnout.
CHALLENGE #3: Promoting Positive Patient Experiences
About the Challenge:
One of the main responsibilities of Clinical Nurse Leaders is to promote positive patient experiences. However, this responsibility can be quite challenging. Many students in online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs struggle with whether they are qualified to promote interventions that lead to patient satisfaction. The simple answer is YES! You are qualified.
How to Overcome:
To overcome this challenge, I believe it is important to try and think about what you would feel like as a patient and as a nurse working in a hospital or healthcare facility. If you were the patient, what interventions or actions on the nurse's part would make you feel more comfortable and satisfied with the care you receive? As a nurse, what do you feel is most important and impacts the patient’s opinion about their care and overall experiences? When you take the time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, promoting positive experiences becomes more personal, and you can overcome the challenges that arise.
WHERE DO GRADUATES OF ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS MOSTLY WORK?
After graduating from online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs, you can work in a variety of settings, depending on what interests you most. Some Clinical Nurse Leaders work in hospital systems, private healthcare facilities, residential or long-term care facilities, and in education. The list below includes three of the top settings where graduates of these programs may work.
Many graduates of MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs work in hospital settings. Whether you work as a Chief Nursing Officer, Case Management Supervisor, or Patient Liaison, the skills you gain in these specialized programs will help you positively impact patient and organizational outcomes.
2. Private Healthcare Facilities:
You may choose to work for a private healthcare facility or organization as an in-house nurse educator or quality improvement coordinator. In private healthcare organizations, you may analyze the processes used to provide patient care and create evidence-based solutions for healthcare delivery.
3. Long-Term Care Facilities:
The Clinical Nurse Leader working in long-term care facilities provides direct clinical leadership at the point of care for patients in residential care. In this setting, a CNL works to advance quality care delivery that demonstrates evidence-based, patient-centered, and safe care designed to promote positive patient outcomes.
5 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS
After graduating from MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs, you can choose from a wide variety of job opportunities. The following are five of the best jobs for graduates of these programs.
1. Quality Improvement Coordinator:
As a Clinical Nurse Leader, you can work as a Quality Improvement Coordinator, ensuring that nurses within your organization comply with key performance indicators and quality care standards. You will work with the quality improvement committee and report to the organization’s medical director. Quality Improvement Coordinators typically work in clinic or hospital settings.
2. Nursing Workforce Development Director:
The Nursing Workforce Development Director creates defined pathways and services for employees to help develop essential skills and promote professional opportunities within their organizations. In this role, you may identify and address service needs within your organization and develop a process whereby those needs are met. This job requires you to think strategically and creatively, to synthesize information, and implement solutions while exercising sound judgment and flexibility.
3. Executive Director of Nursing Services:
Graduates of online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader programs often work in executive positions as nursing directors. The Executive Director of Nursing Services provides professional leadership to nursing staff in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The role includes corporate responsibilities such as providing professional advice and guidance on matters related to the delivery of patient care and patient safety. The Executive DNS provides direction and support in the development of nursing practice and maintenance of quality care standards throughout the healthcare organization.
4. Nurse Educator:
With a Master of Science in Nursing and certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader, you could be instrumental in educating and preparing students for future roles as nurses. If you enjoy clinical nursing and love the idea of teaching others why you are so passionate about your career, becoming a nurse educator is an excellent option!
5. Patient Support Clinical Analyst:
The Patient Support Clinical Analyst analyzes and determines trends in patient care and works with internal departments of their organizations to develop solutions aimed at improving patient care and experiences. In this role, you will review and evaluate the performance of clinical team members, promote a positive work environment, participate in clinical leadership, manage disputes, and facilitate or participate in internal and external calibrations to assist with patient needs and expectations.
WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?
New graduates of online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs earn an average of $33.06 per hour, $1,322 per week, or $5,730 per week. This pay is equivalent to an annual salary of $68,760.
WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS EXPECT?
The average salary for online MSN-clinical nurse leader program graduates is $102,129 per year. This pay breaks down to $49.10 per hour, $1,964 per week, or $8,510 per month.
10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER ONLINE PROGRAMS
The 10-year job outlook for graduates of online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs is quite promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 45.68% growth in jobs in this industry between 2021 and 2031.
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
IS THE COST OF AN ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?
Another important factor to consider when choosing MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs is whether the cost of the programs is worth your potential return on investment. You can determine the return on investment by comparing the cost of the programs to your projected earnings.
For example, program graduates earn an entry-level salary of approximately $68,760. The average income for program graduates is $102,129. You can earn the degree for as little as $25,000 to more than $50,000.
When you consider these factors, even if you make the entry-level salary and choose a higher-priced program, you could still see a positive return on your investment in a short time. Further, if you receive scholarships or grants, which could reduce your program cost, your ROI could occur faster. The more experience you gain, the greater your earning potential. With this in mind, it is clear that the cost of online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs is worth the return on investment.
BONUS! 5 IMPORTANT PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER TRAITS THE BEST ONLINE MSN-CLINICAL NURSE LEADER PROGRAMS LOOK FOR IN APPLICANTS
MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs can throw a lot at their students. For students to have the best chance at success in the program, they should focus on fostering several key traits. Let’s talk about five personality and character traits that MSN-clinical nurse leader programs look for in their applicants.
Even if you do not match up with all these character traits (or you have some work to do), this list will help you establish positive goals and prepare for your education.
As a CNL, you will lead teams of nurses in providing high-quality patient care. As such, one of the most essential skills online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader programs look for in candidates is confidence. When you are confident in your abilities and knowledge as a nurse, your team members, patients, and patient families will see confidence in everything you do, which usually sets them more at ease, creating a good work environment that supports positive patient and organizational outcomes.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage, and use your emotions in a way that promotes empathy toward others, stress reduction, conflict resolution, and effective communication. Considering the roles that Clinical Nurse Leaders fill, emotional intelligence
is one of the most important characteristics admission teams look for in program candidates.
To be an effective leader, you must have the ability to motivate others. That ability begins with self-motivation. Admission teams look for candidates who are driven to succeed and persistent in plans to accomplish their goals. You can demonstrate self-motivation by showing a history of academic success and leadership at work or in volunteer settings.
Compassion is an essential quality that all nurses need. Nurses desiring leadership roles, like Clinical Nurse Leader, should be especially aware of how to be compassionate and demonstrate compassion to others. As a CNL, you must be willing to listen to and try to understand how your patients and team members feel and work to help them when they face difficult challenges. The ability to show genuine compassion
is a trait that can set you apart as an exceptional Clinical Nurse Leader.
5. Critical Thinking
Clinical Nurse Leaders have a knack for making quick decisions when time is of the essence. When you apply for admission to online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader programs, admission faculty want to know you are not afraid to use critical thinking to make vital decisions because they realize your leadership and ability to do so could make the difference between positive and negative patient outcomes.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
If you are interested in earning a Master of Science in Nursing and specializing as a Clinical Nurse Leader, it is natural to wonder, “What are the best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs?” Finding the right program is essential if you want to earn a high-quality education and be prepared for your leadership role.
In this article, I shared the 20 best online MSN-clinical nurse leader programs for 2023 and gave you some information about them. You learned about admission requirements, curriculum, program costs, and potential careers. You also discovered information about earning potential and job outlook. If you still feel like earning your MSN in Clinical Nurse Leadership, I encourage you to reach out to some of the schools offering these programs and get started today!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
1. What Is The Best Online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Program In The Nation?
The University of Pittsburgh is home to the best online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader program in the nation.
|University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA|
2. Is It Easy to Get Admission Into Online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Programs?
MSN-clinical nurse leader online programs often have a competitive admissions process. However, you can increase your chances of receiving an admission offer by working to exceed minimum admission requirements. Working on getting your GPA higher than the preferred minimum, getting some work experience, and completing all prerequisites is helpful.
3. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Online Programs?
The minimum grade point average needed to get into most MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader online programs is 3.0. on a 4.0 grading scale. However, because this requirement may vary among schools, it is important to verify the minimum GPA required at each school where you plan to apply.
4. Can I Get Into MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Online Programs With A Low GPA?
While many programs have firm restrictions regarding their minimum GPA requirement for admission, others offer options for students with lower GPAs. If your GPA is lower than the school’s preferred minimum, ask if they offer conditional admission based on other factors. Many MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader online programs use a holistic approach to choosing candidates and consider several factors about an applicant in addition to grade point average. In cases like this, you could leverage your work or volunteer experiences, especially those in healthcare leadership, to boost your application and become a more viable candidate for admission.
5. What Is The Typical Cost-Per-Credit For MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Online Programs?
The cost per credit range is usually around $1000.00 per credit hour – however, this can vary widely.
6. Can I Work Part-Time And Complete This Program?
Yes, these programs are designed to allow students to work part-time and sometimes even full-time.
7. Can I Work Full-Time And Complete This Program?
In many cases, yes, you will be able to work full-time and complete an online clinical nurse leader program.
8. What Are The Hardest Classes In Online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Programs?
Advanced pharmacology can be difficult for some students; however, the difficulty will usually depend on the student's past experiences.
9. How Much Do New Graduates Of This Program Make?
Graduates of MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader online programs earn an entry-level salary of $68,760.
10. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Make Per Hour?
Graduates of online MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader programs earn approximately $49.10 on average.
11. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Per Month?
The average monthly wage for graduates of this program is $8,510.
12. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader Online Programs Make Per Year?
Graduates of MSN-clinical Nurse Leader online programs earn an average of $102,129 per year.
Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).