Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader

Visit the MSN webpage for program information, contact information, and an online application.


The Mission of the Graduate Program at Central Methodist University is to create a learning environment that allows students to continue their professional development. This is achieved through emphasis on academic and professional excellence, ethical leadership, and social responsibility.

Mission of the MSN Program

The mission of Central Methodist University, the College of Graduate and Extended Studies, and the Department of Nursing is to prepare nurses who have baccalaureate degrees to practice in a professional role as Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs). The primary focus is to provide advanced practical clinical skills and knowledge fostering ethical leadership and social responsibility.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

The Master of Science in Nursing Program has been written using the guiding principles developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing preparing graduates for practice as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). The CNL graduate is eligible to matriculate to a practice- or research-focused doctoral program.


MSN, Clinical Nurse Leader Program

The goal of the Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader program is to provide opportunities for qualified students to acquire advanced knowledge and skills in nursing to enable them to provide clinical leadership in the health care delivery system across all settings in which health care is delivered. The CNL assumes accountability for client care outcomes through the assimilation and application of evidence-based information to design, implement, and evaluate the process of health care delivery.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

The goal of the Clinical Nurse Leader includes improving clinical or client outcomes and enhancing nursing practice through the identification of and application of effective care to clients and families. The Clinical Nurse Leader is accountable for a defined group of clients within the health care setting. The CNL is a formal leader and provides horizontal leadership to foster lateral integration of care.

Nursing Faculty Belief: Persons are unique, holistic, and developing beings with the process and capacity for thinking, feeling, reflecting, and choosing. Persons respond to and act upon the constantly changing environment, which is everything that is within and around them. To adapt to this changing environment, people use coping processes which are both innate and learned. Adaptation occurs as adaptive responses promote integrity and wholeness.

Health is a state and a process of being and becoming an integrated and whole person. Health is a continuum ranging from peak wellness to death. The adaptation level is that point where the person is able to respond positively. A whole person is one with the highest possible fulfillment of human potential.

Nursing assists persons, families, and communities to examine life and environmental patterns, attach personal meaning to these patterns, and choose adaptation. Nurs­ing acts to enhance interaction with the environment by promoting meaningful life experiences, growth, and adaptation. The profession of nursing is an integrated part of a system for health care delivery and shares responsibility for working collaboratively with other health care practitioners.

Nursing education is a process which enables the learner to synthesize a body of knowledge obtained through courses in nursing, liberal arts, humanities, and the sciences. Because nursing is dynamic, the education is foundational for professional growth through nursing research and continuing education.

The faculty believe that the learner is best able to reach individual potential in an environment that is nurturing and promotes inquiry, dialogue, curiosity, creativity, the ethical ideal, and assertiveness. The learner brings an attitude of commitment and motivation for achievement. The role of the learner is to share in the responsibility of the teaching-learning process.

The teacher interacts with students as persons of worth, dignity, intelligence, and high scholarly standards. The teacher's role is to provide the climate, structure, and dialogue that promotes discovery of patterns and paradigms for practice. The teacher raises questions that require reading, observation, analysis, and reflection upon patient care. The teacher nurtures the learner, is available for dialogue, and promotes the use of research and critical thinking in the delivery of nursing care.

Program Outcomes

At the end of this program, the graduate will be able to:

  1. Design, coordinate, supervise, and evaluate care pro­vided by the health care team eva­luating appro­priate use of fiscal and human re­sources.
  2. Assume accountability for client-care outcomes, including those that focus on patient quality and safety,  by utilizing research-based information to de­sign, im­plement, and evaluate the process of health care delivery.
  3. Analyze issues in health care delivery from an ethical, sociopolitical, technological, and historical framework and synthesize findings to provide leadership for change.
  4. Effect change through advocacy for diverse populations of clients within the health care delivery and policy system, the profession and interdisciplinary health care team.
  5. Analyze the impact of health care financial policies and economics on the delivery of health care and client outcomes and incorporate into the CNL role.
  6. Utilize a multidisciplinary approach to acquire resources for diverse client populations that empower them to at­tain health and maintain wellness.
  7. Integrate findings from the sciences and humanities to impact health care outcomes.
  8. Utilize information systems and patient care technologies at the point of care to improve health care outcomes.
  9. Effectively utilizes varied methods of communication  and technologies to impact care and practice, including instructional practices, at macro-, meso-, and microsystems levels.

Admission Criteria

  • Current Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a nationally accredited college or university (NOTE: Students with a non-Nursing Bache­lor's degree from a nationally accredited college or university must submit proof of relevant nursing experience. Prior to acceptance into the program, students are required to submit a portfolio of experiences based on the Essentials of Baccalaureate Nursing Education to the Admission's Committee.);
  • cumulative GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from bacca­lau­reate program;
  • RN License in Missouri (current)
  • statistics course with a "C" grade or better;
  • research course with a "C" grade or better;
  • computer experience/literacy;
  • current Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores within the last two years. The GRE re­quirement will be waived for students with a 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale in final 60 hours of their ba­chelor's pro­gram;
  • submission of a one-page written statement of per­sonal nursing philosophy and goals which demonstrate scholarly writing compe­tencies; and
  • must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate Program and CMU;
  • a computer with access to the internet. Internet access is essential to be successful in this program. Students also must have Microsoft Office Professional 2007 to enable them to submit papers to faculty, to enable faculty to open the files easily, and to enable faculty to submit feedback in those files to the students. (Students may purchase Microsoft Office Professional 2007 through the college at a reduced price.)

After acceptance into the program

Students are required to submit the following prior to the first class:

  • Health history
  • Rubella titer and/or immunization
  • Current DT immunization
  • Hepatovax injection series

Students are required to show proof of the following prior to clinical coursework:

  • Montaux/PPD—within the past year year
  • Current CPR certification (good for 2 years)
  • Malpractice insurance

Requirements for Continuation in Program: Students who earn less than a "B" in a course may not continue in their cohort. Any one course where the student earns less than a "B" must be repeated and completed with a grade of "B" or higher, and then the student will join the subsequent cohort. Students will be required to petition the Graduate Studies Commit­tee for re-admission. Any second instance when a student earns less than a "B"—whether it is a re­peated course or one taken for the first time—re­sults in the student's dismissal from the MSN program.

NOTE: No current CMU student shall supervise another CMU student as part of any CMU course. This specifically includes all practicum, internship, and student-teaching experiences or related courses. Students should consult the appropriate advisor if they have any questions regarding their assignment for the aforementioned experiences.

Graduation Requirements

A 3.0 cumulative GPA must be maintained and a grade of "B" or above must be obtained in divi­sional courses. The MSN program must be completed within five (5) years of enrollment.

Portfolio Assessment

The Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader graduate will maintain an Annual Professional Outcomes Portfolio that includes evidence of:

  1. improved clinical outcomes such as
    1. Client satisfaction
    2. Interdisciplinary team satisfaction
    3. Strategic management of Unit and organiza­tional outcomes to maximize quality, safety, and satisfaction.
  2. the degree to which efficient and effective use of re­sources is identified and addressed
  3. the creation of well-functioning clinical teams as evi­denced by
    1. knowledge of staff members about Unit-based tech­nology and pharmaceuticals
    2. reduction in absenteeism, improved reten­tion, and professional development
    3. fostered environment for improved involve­ment of professional team
  4. the extent to which new resource technology has been incorporated into practice in
    1. grand rounds
    2. case presentations
    3. clinical/care team studies and publications
  5. the extent to which leadership has been demon­strated by
    1. service on practice and governance commit­tees
    2. contributions to strategic goals
    3. increased knowledge and skills
    4. evaluated knowledge of clinical team and incor­poration into practice
    5. mentoring of new or student CNLs
  6. professional development and continuing educa­tion
  7. knowledge about and participation in develop­ing and implementing corporate or institutional philos­ophy, goals, strategies, and results.