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Why Online for an MSN CNL Degree?

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Research shows that hospitals that hire more BSN-prepared RNs have better patient outcomes. But why stop at a BSN? Along with the demand for BSN-prepared nurses, there is a growing need for clinical nurse leaders (CNLs) to head up healthcare teams at the point of care.

The CNL role requires a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or higher. An online program can offer the flexibility RNs need to take that step.

The University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM), for example, offers an online MSN CNL that RNs can earn in as few as 20 months. This program, currently the only one of its kind in Louisiana, prepares RNs with the advanced skills and knowledge they need to excel in clinical nurse leadership roles.

What Are Major Benefits of an Online MSN CNL?

Being able to complete coursework from the comfort of home — or anywhere else with an internet connection– is an appealing benefit of an online program. But the advantages of earning an MSN CNL online go beyond avoiding a commute to campus.

  1. Flexible Start Dates Online programs typically offer multiple start dates. This means students can start when they are ready. With courses that are eight weeks in length, students in ULM’s MSN CNL can go at their own pace, taking a break from classes if needed without waiting an entire semester to jump back in.
  2. Affordable Tuition Earning an advanced degree is an investment in time and money. Online programs typically cost less than on-campus options. U.S. News & World Report states that online MSNs can cost $35,000 or more, making ULM’s degree program a value at $14,250 for in-state and out-of-state students. Students can pay by the course, which may reduce the need for loans.
  3. Flexibility and Convenience The idea of getting to class on time (while balancing a job, family and other demands) may pose a serious challenge for working RNs who want to earn their MSN CNL. In fact, working RNs may find it difficult, if not impossible, to plan their schedules around class times on campus. Online programs such as ULM’s MSN CNL offer an ideal solution, making it possible for students to complete coursework on their own schedule.
  4. No Need to Give Up Work Online programs are designed with working professionals in mind. In fact, students can complete required clinical hours, such as practicums, at their place of employment. By making it possible for students to continue working while they earn their degree, an online MSN CNL program may reduce or eliminate the need for loans.

As a clinician who serves as the front-line care leader, a CNL ensures that care is evidence-based for optimal patient outcomes. An online MSN CNL program such as ULM’s prepares RNs for this vital leadership role in all practice settings.

Higher earnings and professional advancement are a couple of good reasons to consider earning an MSN CNL. Job satisfaction is another. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, RNs with graduate degrees are more likely to be extremely satisfied with their jobs. An online MSN CNL can pave the way to career paths that have much to offer when it comes to job satisfaction, not the least of which is the opportunity to transform healthcare delivery.

Learn more about the University of Louisiana Monroe’s online Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration program.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Building the Case for More Highly Educated Nurses

U.S. News & World Report: Weighing Costs of an Online Master’s in Nursing

The Online Journal of Issues of Nursing: The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): Point-of-Care Safety Clinician

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Why Nurses Go Back to School

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