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MSN-CNL - Frequently Asked Questions

It is primarily online. The MSN-CNL program is a 39 s.h. program, comprised of six semesters plus one winter session, is primarily online. The only course that requires time on campus is NURS:5031 Health Promotion and Assessment for Advance Clinical Practice. The amount of time on campus for that course is limited and is aggregated so travel to Iowa City is minimized. On-campus time is required prior to beginning the first semester and at the end of the last semester. The time on campus is limited to 1 1/2 days. The time prior to the first semester is for orientation to graduate programs (the first semester) and time for students to meet with cohorts, advisors, and faculty members of courses the students will take during the MSN-CNL program. The time at the end of the program is for meeting with the capstone committee and presentation of the capstone project. Those days on campus are published well in advance to give students time to coordinate time with other commitments.

Yes, you will need an RN license in the state in which you reside. The clinical experiences will be in microsystem in the organization in which the student is employed.

No, you do not need to provide transcripts if all your coursework post-high school was at the University of Iowa College of Nursing.

Yes, you can. If you believe that your academic record or test scores do not accurately reflect your ability to do graduate work, complete the appropriate section on the application. Be sure to describe the factors that affected your academic record and state what is in place to avoid these factors in the future.

No, you do not need to take the GRE for our MSN-CNL program.

Due to the level of internet-based course work required, international students in this program of study are not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student immigration status. Questions regarding visas and immigration documentation should be addressed to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) via email at

There is only one practicum--90 hours with NURS:5666 Leadership in the Microsystem. The focus of this practicum is on understanding the operations of the microsystem of focus. The MSN:CNL students stay embedded in a microsystem throughout the program, so for this practicum they will work with the manager of that microsystem to understand its operations. There are 400 hours associated with NURS:5696, which is a course for which students register during their last semester. They accumulate the hours throughout the program starting with the microsystem assessment they complete during NURS:5636.

The purpose of the program is to prepare them for leadership roles at the point-of-care. The titles of those positions will vary depending on the site of care and the focus of the position. Some possible titles are patient navigator, care coordinator, health coach, quality improvement specialist, patient educator, staff educator, patient care facilitator, etc. They probably won't see positions labeled as CNL, but if they look at the competencies required for many of those new positions that are now being added in many health care systems, they will see that they require the competencies emphasized in this program.

Certification is recommended but not required, as it isn't a credential needed for licensure as certification is for NP graduates. The advantages of the CNL certification are the same as other specialty certifications; it validates that the person has expertise in that particular area of practice. This is a good time to insert that we offer the examination on-site during their last semester of the program and we'd encourage them to take the exam while they are still in the student role. The cost of certification is not included in tuition and fees.