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Clinical Nurse Leader

Our Clinical Nurse Leader Master’s Degree is now Online*!

The Clinical Nurse Leader track is an exciting opportunity for recent graduates and experienced BSN nurses to earn a Master of Science degree online. This part-time program is available, accessible and affordable; furthermore, it will allow nurses to advance and enrich their career while maintaining a normal family life and work schedule. 

The Clinical Nurse Leader curriculum is offered on a part-time basis only and can be completed in two years. Graduates of this program will have specialized skills in the following areas:

  • Knowledge for clinical practice in unit based care
  • Oversight of individual patient and aggregate outcomes
  • Leadership role at the bedside

*At this time, only out-of-state applicants employed by VA hospitals will be considered for acceptance and must complete their clinical residency in a VA hospital. In-state applicants must be able to complete their clinical residency in one of our practice partner settings, or VA hospitals in Florida.

The CNL track at the University of Florida  is offered in cooperation with the following Gainesville/Jacksonville area practice partners: Shands at the University of Florida , Shands Jacksonville, Malcom Randall VA Medical Center (part of the North Florida/South Georgia VA Health System), Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville and Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville. We are also developing partnerships that will be used for CNL placement in other areas.

The program culminates in a 12 week, full–time clinical residency (role immersion) experience. This must be completed in one of our practice partner settings, or VA hospitals in Florida or out of state.

The Clinical Nurse Leader curriculum is offered on a part-time basis, and can be completed in 2 years.

Beginning in  Fall 2010, all didactic (classroom) courses in the CNL curriculum will be available online.

Successful graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the CNL certification exam offered by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC), a branch of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).For more information about the CNL role, visit the AACN website at, or download their CNL informational brochure here.

Important aspects of the CNL program:

  • The CNL education program culminates in a master of science  in nursing degree.
  • The CNL graduate is a generalist who practices with a high level of clinical competence at the point of care.
  • The CNL graduate is prepared for clinical leadership in settings throughout the healthcare delivery system.

The focus of the CNL role is promotion of the best possible client care in all settings. The CNL  oversees and directs client care for a distinct group of patients. CNLs  collaborate with the client’s family members,  lead interdisciplinary teams in care delivery  and  serve as the client’s advocate in the health care system. The CNL is a source of emotional support, empowerment, and knowledge for clients and their families. The CNL is a resource to other nurses and health care providers. The CNL promotes high-quality, evidence based, and well-coordinated client care through the following role functions:

  • Clinician
  • Outcomes manager
  • Client advocate
  • Educator
  • Information manager
  • Systems analyst/ Risk anticipator
  • Team manager
  • Member of a profession
  • Lifelong learner

View a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the CNL compiled by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Sample part-time curriculum plan

Application deadline for all MSN clinical tracks is March 15. (See below for more details)*
*Note: The March 15 deadline for the MSN program indicate the earliest date when the College will begin accepting students. After March 15, applications to the MSN program will be accepted until May 31st and students will be accepted on a space available basis.

APPLY ONLINE! (This page takes you to the general MSN application process where you will specify the CNL track as your course of study in your CON application materials)

All general MSN program inquiries should be directed to:

UF College of Nursing
PO Box 100197
Gainesville, FL 32610-0197
(352) 273-6426
Specific questions about the CNL track should be directed to:

Jane Gannon, DNP, CNM, CNL
CNL Track Coordinator
(904) 244-5166