It is a primarily online program. The only course that usually requires time on campus is NURS:5031 Health Promotion and Assessment for Advance Clinical Practice. In addition, we usually welcome students to campus for orientation. This is an opportunity to meet your cohorts, advisors, and faculty members of courses the students will take during the MSN-CNL program. Lastly, at the end of the program you are welcomed to campus for your capstone presentation. COVID-19 has allowed  us to make accommodations for the above requirements.

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.

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

The leadership practicum--90 hours with NURS:5666 Leadership in the Microsystem. The focus of this practicum is on understanding the operations of the microsystem with a nurse manager.  In addition, you will identify an area of opportunity and propose a future capstone project.
The capstone practicum-- 400 hours in NURS:5696 CNL Capstone Clinical Immersion. During this final semester you will implement, evaluate, and defend your capstone project.

The purpose of the program is to prepare the learner for a clinical leadership role at the point-of-care. The program prepares the CNL with eight competencies. Therefore, you may seek a role using one of these competencies: clinician, educator, advocate, outcomes manager, information manager, system analyst, member of the profession, and outcomes. Our graduates report being in roles such as patient navigator, care coordinator, health coach, quality improvement specialist, patient educator, staff educator, patient care facilitator, instructor, and manager.

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. We have a 100% certification pass rate on the first time.