Clinical Nurse Leader (post-BSN to DNP with Master's Exit)

Program Description

Program Description

The MSON offers the post-baccalaureate entry to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (post-BSN to DNP) with a master’s exit. This pathway provides all post-baccalaureate nursing students the opportunity to enter graduate school and have a direct pathway that allows them to exit at the master’s level or matriculate directly to the doctoral degree. 

The post-BSN to DNP with the MSN exit is designed to provide students the opportunity to assimilate and utilize in-depth knowledge of nursing, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical and organizational sciences, with sophisticated informatics and decision-making technology to develop collaborative strategies that optimize the health of individuals, families, communities and systems. The DNP program curriculum is based upon the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) (2006) Essentials of Doctoral Education. The MSN program curriculum is based on the AACN (2011) Essentials of Master’s Education. These programs build upon a foundation of baccalaureate education. Grounded in the Mercy and Jesuit traditions, the DNP program emphasizes the student’s development as an expert clinician with strong leadership capacity, a commitment to service, and skills to act as change agents, translating clinical research into improved health care. 

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) major prepares an advanced generalist practitioner to provide clinical leadership at the point of service in a variety of practice settings. Built from the core curriculum in other master’s degree programs, this advanced generalist nurse is differentiated from advanced practice nurses in their abilities to: 

  • manage complex clinical cases and provide leadership at the point of care;
  • scan the practice environment to identify opportunities for quality and process improvements;
  • use technology and informatics to support outcomes measurement; and
  • lead teams in the delivery of health care in multiple settings across the care continuum. 

This program assists nurses in developing advanced clinical knowledge, leadership skills, and systems knowledge to provide care and clinical leadership in all health care settings at the point of service; implement evidence-based and outcomes-based practice; develop and implement quality improvement strategies; and create and manage microsystems of care that will be responsive to the needs of individuals and families. The program is designed to prepare nurse leaders who can address contemporary issues in an evolving health care environment. Graduates of the CNL program are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam offered by the AACN Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC). 

The post-BSN to DNP with MSN exit with a major in CNL requires a total of 72 credits. A total of 41 credit hours and 400-500 clinical hours must be completed for the MSN exit where the Master of Science in Nursing is conferred. Since the clinical nurse leader major does not include an advanced nursing practice major, these students complete an Executive Leadership bridge (6 credits) to the DNP. After the bridge, 25 credits and additional clinical hours are required for the completion of the DNP.

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    Program Outcomes

    The following program outcomes will be achieved at completion of the post-BSN to DNP with master’s exit:

    MSN Program Outcomes

    MSN and DNP Outcomes

    MSN Program Outcomes

    DNP Program Outcomes

    1.  Demonstrate professional role practice consistent with the competencies of the unique specialty at the master’s level.

    1.  Demonstrate professional role practice consistent with the competencies of the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

    2.  Translate theoretical and conceptual knowledge into advanced nursing practice actions that promote optimal health care quality and patient safety outcomes.

    2.  Formulate innovative theoretical and conceptual frameworks that ensure optimal health care quality and patient safety outcomes.

    3.  Integrate informatics, health care technology, and interpersonal collaboration in the delivery of person-centered nursing practice for individuals and populations.

    3.  Translate evidence to produce innovative models of care that integrates informatics, health care technology, and interpersonal collaboration to affect population health, outcomes, and support health care policy initiatives.

    4.  Engage in systems leadership with a focus on preventive care, policy development, and patient advocacy.

    4.  Lead health care systems and policy innovation with a focus on preventative care, quality improvement and patient advocacy.

    5.  Integrate the Jesuit and Mercy traditions in providing culturally-competent, compassionate, holistic, and person-centered care with a commitment to human dignity in the contemporary world.

    5.  Integrate the Mercy and Jesuit traditions in providing culturally competent, compassionate, holistic and person-centered care with a commitment to human dignity in the contemporary world.


    Admission Criteria for the post-BSN to DNP with Master's Exit Program

    1. A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally-accredited program.
      • RNs with a baccalaureate degree in another field could qualify for the MSN bridge program.  The baccalaureate degree must be from an accredited program.  Each application will be individually assessed to determine courses needed to bridge into the MSN program.  This gap analysis will determine what additional courses will be required at the baccalaureate level to ensure they have met the prerequisites necessary for graduate education in nursing.
    2. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
    3. A minimum of 2000 hours as a registered nurse. The AGCNS program does not have a minimum practice requirement for admission.
    4. A current unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse in the State of Michigan or in the state of home residence.
    5. Official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended.
    6. Three letters of professional recommendation with at least one from someone in a supervisory capacity.
    7. An autobiographical statement of personal goals and objectives.
    8. Current resume or professional CV.
    9. An interview with graduate faculty.

    Note:  A GRE may be required for any student petitioning for admission to the program with a cumulative GPA less than 3.0.


    Required Courses

    MSN Integrated Core

    • NUR 5030 Analytic Methods for Clinical Practice (3 credits)
    • HLH 7100 Health Care Policy, Economics and the Law in Clinical Practice (3 credits)
    • HLH 7000 Advanced Theory and Knowledge Development for Clinical Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7300 Transformational Leadership and Innovation in Advanced Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7400 Information Management and Decision Support (3 credits)
    • NUR 7500 Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Theory, Design & Methods (3 credits)

    Advanced Practice Core

    • NUR 5500 Physical Assessment and Advanced Pharmacology (4 credits)
    • HLH 5900 Advanced Pathophysiology (3 credits)
    • NUR 5940 CNL Immersion (4 credits)

    CNL Concentration

    • NUR 5350 Outcomes Management & Decision Support in Nursing (3 credits)
    • NUR 5420 Management of the Health Care Environment (2 credits)
    • NUR 5450 Business Planning for Nurse Leaders (2 credits)
    • NUR 5650 Population Health & Care Transitions Management (2 credits)
    • NUR 5830 Leadership & Quality Improvement in Clinical Microsystems (3 credits)

    Advanced Practice or Organizational Leadership Bridge

    Students will be required to complete an advanced practice or organizational leadership bridge in order to matriculate to the DNP. Coursework will be mutually determined by a gap analysis.

    Doctoral Integrated Core

    • NUR 7700 DNP Transition (3 credits)
    • NUR 7200 Epidemiology & Population Health (3 credits)
    • NUR 7350 Business Management to Ensure Quality in Health Care (3 credits)
    • ETH 7010 Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7450 Analytics for Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7800 Project Proposal Development (3 credits)
    • NUR 7900 DNP Clinical Practicum & Project Implementation (3 credits)
    • NUR 7920 DNP Doctoral Project (3 credits)

    Total Credits: 41 Total Credits; an Advanced Practice or Organizational Leadership bridge (credits variable and determined by gap analysis) followed by 24 credits for completion of DNP.



    The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Master of Science in Nursing degree, Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, and Post-graduate APRN certificate at the University of Detroit Mercy McAuley School of Nursing are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW Suite 750, Washington, DC  20001. Telephone: (202) 887-6791.

    Program Contact Information

    Julia Stocker-Schneider, PhD, RN, CNL
    HP 225
    McNichols Campus
    Telephone: (313) 993-1790
    Fax: (313) 993-1271

    Suzanne Erwin, BSN
    Graduate Recruiter and Admissions Coordinator
    HP 121
    McNichols Campus
    Telephone:  (313) 993-1828