October 17, 2017

 

Quick Degree Finder

1

2

3



Top 20 Programs in Clinical Nurse Leadership and Nursing Administration 2016

Badge - HC Mgt Degree Guide - Top Graduate Degree Programs
Click here for high resolution badge.

The healthcare industry is undergoing some of the most drastic growth and change of all industries in the United States. In order to keep up, healthcare professionals have been asked to fill new roles to bridge gaps in patient care. Nurses have taken on new and more important roles in order to meet the needs of both patients and the facilities that care for them.

Two emerging roles are Clinical Nurse Leaders and Nursing Administrators. Nurses trained in these areas have gained the skills and training to manage other medical professionals, health information and medical facilities. Candidates must complete graduate-level training to earn the skills and competencies they will need in the field. A clinical nurse leader (CNL) is a highly skilled nurse with the primary goal of improving quality and safety outcomes for patients or patient populations. Nurse Administrators are responsible for the management and administrative aspects of running a medical practice, hospital or other medical facility.

For information about how these programs were selected, see the methodology sectivon at the end of the ranking.

Ranking the Top 20 Programs in Clinical Nurse Leadership and Nursing Administration

#20 – Rush University – Chicago, Illinois

Rush University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe College of Nursing

Points: 10
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization in Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL) is a program designed to teach students of all backgrounds to become responsible for the clinical management of direct patient care. Nursing students will learn to care for individuals and clinical populations across the continuum of care in a wide range of settings. Those with a CNL specialization are trained to take on leadership roles with accountability for health outcomes for a specific group of clients. The clinical nurse leader is also responsible for the organization and implementation of care team activities and functions.

Coursework will cover a range of topics, including health promotion, risk reduction and the improvement of point-of-care outcomes. Experience in the field of healthcare is not required for admittance into the CNL program. The degree program can be completed in two years and is offered only as a part-time program of study. The majority of the CNL program is offered on-line, with the requirement of the following course to be completed on campus: Health Assessment Across the Lifespan Lab: Specialty. This is a live, on-campus compressed (3-4 day) format course. Graduates of this program go on to secure employment in places where superior patient care is a top priority.

Degree Offered:
The Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Clinical Nurse Leadership
US News and World Report Ranking:
#19 Best Nursing Program
#4 Best Clinical Nurse Leadership Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $999 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 393
Peer Assessment Score: 4.0
Acceptance Rate: 54.4%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#19 – University of California – San Francisco, California

UC San Francisco Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 11
Master of Science
Program Website

Students pursuing a nursing leadership degree at UC San Francisco will thrive in the Online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership (MS-HAIL) degree program. This innovative graduate program offers students the opportunity to learn from expert faculty, collaborate with peers across disciplines, contribute to their healthcare organization’s mission, and develop a network of colleagues committed to making healthcare “accessible, affordable, and sustainable.” The nursing department has outlined that for healthcare providers to stay successful they must achieve what is called the “triple aims” that are currently driving healthcare. These include the constant pursuit of better care and satisfaction for individuals, improved health outcomes for populations, and lower per-capita costs. The MS Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership degree program will help professionals with a commitment to shaping healthcare systems so they can improve access, affordability, quality and safety. The program welcomes students from various disciplines such as dentistry, gerontology, medicine, nursing, nutrition, occupational and physical therapies, pharmacy, social work and other professionals working in the healthcare industry.

Degree Offered:
Online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership
US News and World Report Ranking:
#2 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $24,792 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 395
Peer Assessment Score: 4.6
Acceptance Rate: 31.7%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#18 – Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 11
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The School of Nursing at Indiana University – Purdue University is home to a nationally recognized MSN program. Students seeking leadership roles in this exciting field can pursue the Nursing Leadership in Health Systems specialization. The MSN program learning outcomes as shared by the department state that graduates of the MSN program will:

  • Model excellence in nursing leadership to improve nursing practice within a complex health care system
  • Conduct advanced nursing practice within ethical–legal guidelines, professional policies and regulations, and standards of practice associated with a specialty area of practice
  • Synthesize knowledge from nursing as well as biological, behavioral, social, administrative, educational, and communication sciences for application to a chosen domain of advanced practice nursing
  • Demonstrate scholarly inquiry and reflection that exemplifies critical, creative, and systems thinking to advance the practice of nursing
  • Frame problems, design interventions, specify outcomes, and measure achievement of outcomes while balancing human, fiscal, and material resources to achieve quality health outcomes
  • Use information technology and knowledge-based resources to manage and transform data that inform clinical practice
  • Systematically apply evidence from research findings to answer clinical questions, solve clinical problems, and develop innovative nursing interventions and health policies for selected patient populations
  • Demonstrate collaborative practice and interpret nursing science within an interdisciplinary context
  • Articulate the effects of culture, diversity, values, and globalization in the design, delivery, and evaluation of health services
  • Engage in life-long learning activities that contribute to professional development as well as to the advancement of nursing

The nursing leadership in health systems track prepares graduate students for mid-level and senior nursing leadership roles. Courses offered for this specialization include a wide range of administrative knowledge, from leadership and decision making to economics and organizational theory.

While the program is primarily online, students are required to attend classes on the IUPUI campus at the beginning and end of each semester when enrolled in problem-based learning (PLB) courses. Practicum hours may be completed in the local community.

Degree Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Concentration
US News and World Report Ranking:
#199 Best National University
#19 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $489 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 331
Peer Assessment Score: 3.9
Acceptance Rate: 61.1%
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#17 – Augusta University – Augusta, Georgia

Georgia Regents University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe College of Nursing

Points: 11
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Master of Science in Nursing degree program at Augusta University (formerly named Georgia Regents University) is a pioneering accelerated graduate program for individuals with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. Students can complete the program in as few as 16 months, at which point they are adequately prepared to enter the nursing profession. The CNL program is considered a generalist degree, designed to address the breakdown of direct patient care and to provide culpability for healthcare outcomes. Those with a degree in CNL become leaders within the healthcare delivery system, focusing on the coordination of patient care. They are responsible for healthcare outcomes by designing, implementing and evaluating patient plans of care. The program is currently offered at the Augusta and Athens campuses. Courses are taught using “real-time technology” that allows all students to receive the same instruction at the same time. The goals of the program, as stated by the school, include:

  • Demonstrate safe, accountable, and comprehensive nursing care to individuals, families, and communities.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and decision making in health care situations.
  • Evaluate and apply theories and research findings to the advanced generalist practice of nursing.
  • Collaborate with health care providers and consumers to design and initiate strategies to promote wellness, reduce risk, and influence the nature and outcomes of population-appropriate health care services.
  • Engage in advanced generalist practice, based on legal and ethical principles and professional standards of practice.
  • Assume a leadership role in identifying, synthesizing, resolving, and evaluating issues that have an actual or potential impact on nursing and health care.

Degree Offered:
Clinical Nurse Leader Master of Science in Nursing
US News and World Report Ranking:
#71 Best University in the South
#33 Top Public School
#109 Best Nursing Program
#4 Best Clinical Nurse Leadership Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $483 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 3323
Peer Assessment Score: 3.1
Acceptance Rate: 45.3%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#16 – New York University – New York, New York

New York University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe College of Nursing

Points: 12
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

Students who feel drawn to careers in nursing leadership and administration have two options at NYU. One degree is offered at the College of Nursing. The Master of Science in Nursing Administration degree program prepares students for positions as nurse managers or nursing directors in modern healthcare settings. The curriculum underlying the program draws from the interdisciplinary disciplines of nursing, management and business to train students for positions as leaders in the development of nursing practice, leaders of staff, and leaders within the broader organization. Students are strongly encouraged to augment their studies in the NYU College of Nursing with elective courses in the NYU Wagner School of Public Service or the NYU Stern School of Business. Some of the Program Highlights stated by the college include:

  • Innovative advanced study to prepare for front-line and middle-level management/administrative and/or consultative positions in the broader health care arena
  • Contact with expert faculty who hold or have held executive administrative/management positions
  • Complements clinical or other functional specialties, which have an administrative component
  • Emphasis on written and verbal professional communications skills
  • Challenging job opportunities in nursing management/administrative positions available nationwide
  • Eligible to sit for ANCC Certification in Nursing Administration when experiential requirements are met

Another option is offered at the Wagner School of Public Service. The Executive Master of Public Administration in Nurse Leadership is a program designed for current bachelor’s degree-prepared registered nurses who have already secured leadership and management roles and want to further their careers. The program may be completed part-time over two academic years and will provide the highest level of service possible to students as they continue their professional work concurrent with their studies. Students complete 30 credits consisting of four core courses (12 credits), five electives (15 credits), and a Capstone end event (3 credits).

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing Administration
Executive Master of Public Administration in Nurse Leadership
US News and World Report Ranking:
#32 Best National University
#6 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $36,192 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 618
Peer Assessment Score: 4.1
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#15 – Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationSchool of Nursing

Points: 13
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Vanderbilt School of Nursing is an excellent place for graduate nursing students who plan to pursue a career as a pioneer in nursing leadership. The Master of Science in Nursing program with a specialization in Health Care Leadership is an e-Learning program where students become prepared to manage the delivery of nursing and health care services throughout various health care settings and specialty areas. Students are exposed to a range of management knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively and assume leadership positions in health care delivery organizations. Students in this program will learn to do the following:

  • Define, implement and maintain standards for quality patient care
  • Develop, manage and evaluate work teams
  • Implement processes and programs to achieve financial targets and maintain fiscal accountability
  • Implement processes and programs to achieve continual improvement in care delivery
  • Develop, performance counsel, and evaluate assigned staff
  • Mentor staff to boost individual and team performance and competency
  • Collaborate effectively across disciplines and health care settings to enhance integration of services and care delivery
  • Facilitate clear communication of expectations and accountabilities to assigned staff
  • Demonstrate collaborative problem solving abilities
  • Innovate, implement, and manage change
  • Engage support from supervisors, subordinates and peers in meeting organizational goals
  • Balance strategic, financial, operational, quality and interpersonal responsibilities
  • Participate in research

The Healthcare Leadership program offers several advantages over similar degree programs. Those outlined by the school include:

  • An online learning environment dedicated to nursing professionals and flexible to support all types of professional work schedules
  • A learning environment with students comprised of nursing professionals from a diverse variety of nursing experience and backgrounds
  • A team of Vanderbilt University dedicated Healthcare Leadership faculty that represent a combined 150 years of nursing clinical, executive leadership and educational experience in private and public healthcare settings
  • A curriculum that is based on current, relevant nursing practice and challenges you to work as an individual and as a group member to critically analyze, evaluate, and develop solutions in response to emerging trends and issues in nursing practice and healthcare
  • A curriculum that leverages clinical practicum experiences with successful, nationally recognized executive nursing leaders in a variety of quality healthcare systems
  • A curriculum that specifically focuses on the impact of national, state and local healthcare policy and financing on nursing practice
  • A curriculum that supports and applies the integration of case studies and analysis based on real world nursing practice scenarios
  • A program that successfully links technology with learning while embracing cultural and academic diversity

Vanderbilt also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) which is completed in a mostly asynchronous online format with 1 week intensive on-campus experiences required each semester.  The program culminates in a scholarly project that DNP students are required to complete and present to a committee of leaders in the nursing profession.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with Health Care Leadership Concentration
Doctor of Nursing Practice
US News and World Report Ranking:
#15 Best National University
#11 Best Nursing Program
#10 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $1,195 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 649
Peer Assessment Score: 4.1
Acceptance Rate: 54.5%
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#14 – University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, Illinois

University of Illinois Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe UIC College of Nursing

Points: 13
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Program Website

The UIC College of Nursing offers nursing degrees at a wide range of academic levels. For students interested in a career nursing administration, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a specialization in Health Systems Leadership is a great choice. The DNP program is designed to train nursing leaders in high-level professional nursing practice, well beyond the introductory training in the field. Doctoral nursing spans a range of clinical practice that impacts “health care outcomes for individuals, families, and populations including the direct care of individual patients, management and care coordination for individuals and populations, administration of nursing and health care organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy.” Graduates of this program are prepared for many different direct care roles and systems-focused roles or a blend of the two. The DNP curriculum consists of three areas of competencies for advanced practice in direct clinical care or systems:

  • Core practice competencies
  • Specialty-specific practice competencies
  • Role competencies

The mission throughout the department is to “develop advanced practitioners of nursing into evidenced-based, intra-disciplinary providers who meet the needs of a rapidly expanding healthcare field.” According to the department, upon completion of the DNP program, all students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the specialty competencies needed for doctoral practice in nursing
  • Translate science to influence healthcare policy
  • Implement evidence-based practices to optimize healthcare outcomes and reduce disparities
  • Practice strategic management skills to improve the effectiveness of nursing interventions and health systems outcomes
  • Develop transdisciplinary ventures to create innovative healthcare delivery models
  • Demonstrate fiscal leadership in planning and in management for nursing practice
  • Integrate technology with nursing practice skills to improve quality and accessibility of care

The Health Systems Leadership Program is available with further specialization in Advanced Population Health, Health Leadership or Informatics.

Degree Offered:
Doctor of Nursing Practice
US News and World Report Ranking:
#129 Best National University
#62 Top Public School
#13 Best Nursing Program
#4 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $19,680 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 640
Peer Assessment Score:4.2
Acceptance Rate: 45.5%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#13 – University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa

University of Iowa Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe College of Nursing

Points: 14
Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice
Program Website

The University of Iowa College of Nursing is a nationally respected department, known for the esteemed faculty, advanced clinical opportunities and tradition of pioneering leadership. Several of the programs found at the college have been ranked among the best in the nation. Nursing students with an interest in taking on administrative or leadership roles can pursue a number of degree options at the college.

The first option is the Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL). This program is part of a new and developing nursing role created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with leaders from the education and practice arenas. Although it is a relatively new specialization, the role of the CNL has already proven effective in improving outcomes, enhancing evidence-based practice, and advancing overall quality.

The second option is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a specialization in Health Systems – Nursing Administration and Leadership. The Health Systems program trains the next generation of nursing leaders by offering the information and skills required to succeed in quality improvement, evidence-based management practices, and systems management. Students have the option to pursue this degree option as a part-time advanced plan of study or as an MSN to DNP degree program.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
US News and World Report Ranking:
#82 Best National University
#34 Top Public School
#2 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $14,720 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 13
Peer Assessment Score: Not Available
Acceptance Rate: 100%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#12 – The University of Texas – Austin, Texas

University of Texas Austin Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 14
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

School of Nursing students at the University of Texas in Austin have a unique degree option if they desire a career as a nurse leader. The Alternate Entry Master of Science in Nursing (AE-MSN) program is designed for individuals who posses a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing and who possess a strong interest in pursuing both their Registered Nurse (RN) License and Master of Science in Nursing degree. Upon completion of the rigorous academic and clinical training, AE-MSN graduates are prepared to assume entry-level positions and advance their nursing careers as they acquire experience in the field. AE-MSN students can choose from one of the following concentration areas on which to focus:

  1. Family Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  2. Adult – Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  3. Leadership in Diverse Settings

The Leadership in Diverse Settings specialization is an innovative degree designed to train nurses to offer leadership for patient-centered health care roles in a range of settings. Graduates will be prepared to assume leadership roles in clinical and educational settings.

Degree Offered:
Alternate Entry Master of Science in Nursing
US News and World Report Ranking:
#52 Best National University
#16 Top Public School
#13 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $11,572 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 250
Peer Assessment Score:4.0
Acceptance Rate: 54.8%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#11 – Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia

Emory University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationNell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Points: 15
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Program Website

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University confers the Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Health Systems Leadership degree. This 39-credit hour program can be pursued through either the population health track or the health systems leadership track.  All DNP courses are offered in a combined online/residential hybrid focus. The residential component of courses will be delivered 2-3 Saturdays per semester at which time students will be required to be on campus for interactional learning with other students and faculty. The core DNP coursework (24 credits) that is required for both track is as follows:

  • DNP Project Development I (2 credits)
  • DNP Project Development II (1 credit)
  • DNP Project Development III (5 credits)
  • DNP Project (7 credits)
  • Leadership for the Health Professions (2 credits)
  • Economic Principles of Health Care (2 credits)
  • Business of Health Care: Finance (3 credits)
  • Health Policy, Ethics and Law (3 credits)

Students pursuing the DNP in Health Systems Leadership Track pursue their studies in a full-time program of study, requiring a total of 39 credit hours. Some of the elective courses available include:

  • Health Care Quality and Patient Safety (3 credits)
  • Analytic Tools for Evidence Based Decision Making (3 credits)
  • Leading People to Transform Organizations (3 credits)
  • Leading Complex Health Care Systems (3 credits)
  • Implementing and Evaluating Evidence-Based Decisions (3 credits)

Degree Offered:
Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice
US News and World Report Ranking:
#21 Best National University
#18 Best Value School
#10 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $40,400 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 219
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 89.4%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#10 – University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, Alabama

University of Alabama Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 15
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing offers over 15 specialty tracks, including clinical nurse leader, nurse anesthesia, nursing education, nursing informatics, and nursing and health systems administration.

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Specialty trains graduate nursing students as advanced practice nurses to work in a range of health care settings. The CNL is a forerunner in the health care delivery system and these highly trained nurses take on accountability for patient care outcomes through the use of evidence-based practice to plan, implement, and assess care delivery at all levels. Upon completion of the program requirements, students are awarded a Master of Science in Nursing degree and are qualified to apply to take the Commission on Nursing Certification – CNL Certification Examination offered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Clinical Nurse Leaders also are licensed by the states in which they practice and are subject to the rules and regulations of that state’s practice act.

The Nursing Health Systems Administration (NHSA) Specialty provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand state-of-the-art health care delivery systems in preparation for employment roles ranging from unit managers to executive positions. Graduates have the skills and knowledge for management at all levels of the organization — unit manager, consultant, clinical coordinator and manager, product and service line manager, executive director, director of operation, and nurse executive positions. The Nursing and Health Systems Administration specialty requires 36 total credit hours, 28 didactic and 8 clinical, with 480 total hours of practicum experience.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Clinical Nurse Leader
Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Nursing Health Systems Administration
US News and World Report Ranking:
#149 Best National University
#79 Top Public School
#13 Best Nursing Program
#9 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $476 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 1,636
Peer Assessment Score: 4.0
Acceptance Rate: 65.7%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#9 – University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburg Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 16
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

Students at Pitt with an interest in Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL) can pursue their Master of Science in Nursing with an optional concentration in this area. The CNL concentration is designed for nurses who have a desire to have an impact on the field of nursing while maintaining their career as a direct care provider. This program, like many others, stems from the new nursing role that was created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to improve the quality of direct patient care and train nursing students to succeed in the complex healthcare arena. Graduates of the program are prepared for the following aspects of practice, based upon the AACN Competencies and Curricular Expectations for CNL practitioners:

  • Clinical leadership for patient-care practices, including the design, coordination and evaluation of care for individuals, families, groups, and populations
  • Participation in identification and collection of care outcomes
  • Accountability for evaluation and improvement of point-of-care outcomes, including the synthesis of data and other evidence to evaluate and achieve optimal outcomes
  • Risk anticipation for individual and cohorts of patients
  • Lateral integration of care for individual and cohorts of patients
  • Design and implementation of evidence-based practice(s)
  • Team leadership management and collaboration with other health professional team members
  • Information management or the use of information systems and technologies to improve healthcare outcomes
  • Stewardship and leveraging of human, environmental and material resources
  • Advocacy for patients, communities and health professional teams

The CNL program teaches students to assume leadership roles as nurses who plan to make a significant difference in the clinical setting or to provide training  to others who want to possess these important skills. The healthcare industry is undergoing a great deal of change, which poses a number of difficulties. The CNL role was created by the AACN to play a critical role in addressing these challenges.

Degree Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leadership
US News and World Report Ranking:
#66 Best National University
#24 Top Public School
#5 Best Nursing Program
#3 Best Clinical Nurse Leadership Program
#5 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $36,480 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 189
Peer Assessment Score: 4.4
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#8 – University of Maryland – Baltimore, Maryland

University of Maryland Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 16
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The School of Nursing at the University of Maryland supports the highly rated Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) degree program. The graduate program has been designed for students who possess a baccalaureate or higher degree in a field other than nursing. The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) specialization trains graduate nursing students for work in the areas of direct patient care and clinical nursing leadership in locations such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospice settings, and a variety of additional settings. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded the Master of Science degree and are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam for licensure as a registered nurse. Graduates are also qualified to sit for the CNL Certification Examination offered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Nurse Certification.

Degree Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leadership Specialization
US News and World Report Ranking:
#6 Best Nursing Program
#1 Best Clinical Nurse Leadership Program
#5 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $641 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 719
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 52.7%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Maryland Board of Nursing (MBN)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#7 – Duke University – Durham, North Carolina

Duke University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 17
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

Duke University is a national leader in training nurses at the bachelor, master and doctoral level. Those students with a desire to enter the field of nursing leadership may want to consider the Duke School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nursing and Health Care Leadership. This online, part-time program culminates in the Master of Science in Nursing as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Nursing and Health Care Leadership.

The nursing and health care leadership major offers students a strong foundation in complex systems, organizational theory, financial management, and leadership practice. The program allows professional nurses to earn their graduate degree while also continuing to work in the field. The curriculum includes traditional health care administration content as well as new ways to consider organizations, management, and leadership in order to train graduates for the challenges of today’s health care environment. Classwork prepares graduates for positions ranging from traditional management/administrative careers to emerging leadership roles in quality, safety, Magnet coordination, and provider practice management.  Some of the curriculum highlights include the following:

  • Courses are designed to foster a robust online learning community.
  • Concepts are applied to real-world situations developing the students ability to lead change in complex organizations.
  • Opportunities to interact with nationally recognized health care leaders, including Duke University School of Nursing faculty, in courses and practicum experience

Degree Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with Specialization in Nursing and Health Care Leadership
US News and World Report Ranking:
#8 Best National University
#7 Best Value School
#6 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $1,495 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 491
Peer Assessment Score: 4.3
Acceptance Rate: 37.8%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#6 – Columbia University – New York, New York

Columbia University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe Teachers College

Points: 18
Master of Arts in Administration Studies
Program Website

Students hoping to pursue a career in nursing in organizational or leadership areas will not find a degree program at Columbia’s College of Nursing. Instead they can look to the Department of Organization and Leadership Executive Program for Nurses found at the Teachers College. The Master of Arts in Administration Studies is a program built for students who want to lead in the field of nursing administration. The program was designed as an executive program for nurses with specializations in administration and professorial studies. The goal of the program is to prepare leaders for roles in healthcare organizations. The department has defined those roles as ones designed to “advance, implement, and manage the practice of nursing and healthcare without primarily operating in one-to-one relationships with students or clients.” Graduates of this program have the skills and knowledge to make an impact on nursing and healthcare by influencing other interdisciplinary healthcare providers and learners. The program objectives of this Master of Arts Degree, as outlined by the department, are listed below.

  • Evaluates the contribution of knowledge from related fields to the development of nursing science.
  • Engages in the application and evaluation of nursing theory to education and practice.
  • Uses both inductive and deductive strategies in examining the relevance of nursing science to nursing practice and education.
  • Formulates nursing research questions from practice situations.
  • Derives propositions from nursing theory for systematic investigation in education and practice.
  • Evaluates nursing research findings to advance nursing practice and education.
  • Applies knowledge from related disciplines in the area of role concentration.
  • Analyzes nursing issues in historical, political, social, and economic contexts.
  • Develops plan for translating knowledge acquired in program into future practice.
  • Articulates selected career role within a theoretical body of knowledge.
  • Incorporates knowledge from related disciplines into inquiry methods in nursing.

Degree Offered:
Master of Arts in Administration Studies for Nurses
US News and World Report Ranking:
#4 Best National University
#6 Best Value School
#11 Best Nursing Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $1,366 per credit
Nursing Program Enrollment: 441
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 81.6%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#5 – University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 21
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

For students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Nursing School who plan to pursue a career as a leader in the nursing field, the Department of Administration and Leadership has two excellent degree options. Both options are concentration areas of the traditional Master of Science in Nursing degree program.

The first option is the MSN with a concentration in Nursing and Healthcare Administration. This program utilizes the strengths of Penn’s top ranked School of Nursing, Wharton School of Business, and the Organizational Dynamics Program at Penn. The focus of the program is interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on administration in diverse healthcare settings. The program culminates with a practicum placement, where students work directly with a nurse executive or consultant in their field of interest.

The second option is the MSN with a concentration in Health Leadership. This program has been designed for professional nurses who have the vision, ingenuity and intellect to become a part of the changing course of modern healthcare. The program allows students unmatched freedom to design a plan of study that is specially tailored for each student.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing and Healthcare Administration
Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Health Leadership
US News and World Report Ranking:
#9 Best National University
#11 Best Value School
#1 Best Nursing Program
#1 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $36,620 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 536
Peer Assessment Score: 4.6
Acceptance Rate: 55.3%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#4 – University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 22
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree at University of Virginia is a direct entry to nursing. This 75 credit, two year, full-time program (including summer sessions) provides more than 1,000 clinical hours of directed learning in six specialty areas.

The department is staffed by experienced faculty and clinicians. The goal of the program is to train individuals with no real experience in this field to become nurse leaders on a fast track. The CNL program is designed for individuals with an interest in entering the nursing field and have undergraduate or graduate degrees in other disciplines. Graduates from this program are not trained for a specific job title such as a “Clinical Nurse Leader,” but instead are likely to be hired as entry-level nurses in a variety of settings. The CNL master’s degree helps these entry-level nurses rise quickly in health care communities as clinicians, team leaders, patient care coordinators, outcomes managers, client advocates and systems analysts.

The curriculum helps nursing students fully understand the intricacies of modern healthcare systems including the demand for those trained in how to effectively improve outcomes using knowledge of quality measures and safety assessment. CNL-trained nurses enhance healthcare delivery with knowledge of interprofessional practice, team leadership and quality improvement. Upon graduation, nurses are eligible for the NCLEX and CNL certification exams.

Degree Offered:
Clinical Nurse Leader Master of Science in Nursing
US News and World Report Ranking:
#26 Best National University
#3 Top Public School
#10 Best Nursing Program
#2 Best Clinical Nurse Leadership Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $14,144 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 288
Peer Assessment Score: 4.1
Acceptance Rate: 55.6%
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#3 – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 23
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Health Systems, Nursing Leadership, and Effectiveness Science Master’s degree option at the University of Michigan’s School of Nursing is a national leader in the area of Nursing Administration. Students in this program have the option to elect an area of focus for their plan of study in one of the following: Leadership, Informatics or Population Health.

The Master of Science in Nursing program is designed to train nursing students to tackle leadership roles in complex and high level organizations, as well as to improve health outcomes at all levels of patient care. Upon completion of the program, students will have acquired the skills to use what they have learned through course work and experiential learning opportunities and apply them to their real world. Graduates of the program are ready to face the challenges facing health systems in a global society. The “web-blended” curriculum used in this program combines self-paced learning with on-campus opportunities. Students interact with world-class faculty and informed peers through online learning and four to eight days of on-site classes each semester. Students who complete the MS in the informatics focus area obtain content and practice hours that may qualify them to sit for a variety of informatics certifications. Upon completion of this program, the school has outlined the following list that graduates must be capable of:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills to lead interprofessional teams effectively in uncertain and complex environments
  • Assess the impact of health information and communication technology on health and society.
  • Appraise contemporary challenges and create solutions to improve the quality and safety of health services delivery.
  • Analyze and apply evidence to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of systems and organizations.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Health Systems, Nursing Leadership, and Effectiveness
US News and World Report Ranking:
#29 Best National University
#4 Top Public School
#6 Best Nursing Program
#2 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $19,980 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 288
Peer Assessment Score: 4.3
Acceptance Rate: 68.1%
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#2 – Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins University Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 24
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

Nursing students at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing who hope to pursue careers as leaders and innovators in the field of nursing have two excellent programs to choose from:

Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Clinical Nurse Specialist – Students pursuing this specialization build competencies in “clinical theory and research-based nursing practice, and you’ll put your new skills to use delivering direct patient care, organizing resources while controlling costs, and educating nurses to improve healthcare delivery systems.” The program uses a comprehensive education and holistic approach, where students can experience professional roles as wide ranging as their individual interests. Some of these include expert clinician, clinical leader, staff or academic educator, consultant, or researcher. Students can also learn to manage the spectrum of healthcare by combining the CNS and health systems management master’s programs. As stated by the school, those who earn a master’s degree as a clinical nurse specialist:

  • Serve as educators, outcomes managers, consultants, researchers, change agents, and case managers, as well as clinical nurses
  • Lead and collaborate in an interdisciplinary healthcare team that can include pharmacists, physical therapists, or social workers
  • Provide guidance and support to patients and their families in navigating the complex healthcare delivery system

MSN Health Systems Management – Students pursuing the Health Systems Management specialization become prepared to manage the wide ranging spectrum of the healthcare field, including design, change management, implementation, and evaluation. Nursing students learn from practical experience in direct patient and family care. The curriculum has been carefully developed to combine interests in adult and pediatric patient care and improved management of healthcare systems. While in this program, students develop a calculated comprehension of organizational management philosophy and techniques to ensure the safe and effective nursing care of patients. Those who earn a master’s of science degree in health systems management/clinical nurse specialist:

  • Occupy positions as business and policy analysts; and as managers in pharmaceutical, consulting, and insurance companies, healthcare systems, and nonprofit and government agencies.
  • Evaluate and manage the fiscal health of institutions to provide the best nursing care within budget.
  • Collaborate with administrative and healthcare staff across departments to coordinate patient services.
  • Regulate change in the clinical environment and the healthcare delivery system effectively.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Clinical Nurse Specialist
Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Health Systems Management
US News and World Report Ranking:
#10 Best National University
#20 Best Value School
#2 Best Nursing Program
#5 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $29,020 annual tuition
Nursing Program Enrollment: 278
Peer Assessment Score: 4.5
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#1 – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

University of North Carolina Best Graduate Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse AdministrationThe School of Nursing

Points: 25
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

Potential nursing students with an interest in securing leadership roles in the field of nursing will find that the University of North Carolina’s School of Nursing offers a variety of options. The Master of Science in Nursing can be earned with a specialization in Health Care Systems. Students working toward this degree can further customize their degree program by concentrating in either Administration or Clinical Nurse Leadership. The Health Care Systems (HCS) Advanced Practice Area in the Master of Science (MSN) in Nursing degree program trains graduate students with the information and skills required to succeed in a range of leadership positions in health care organizations. The curriculum includes content in management and leadership, informatics, financial management, human resource management, quality improvement, outcomes management, and education. Health Care Systems prepares students to become advanced practice leaders in the following areas:

  1. Administration: This area of concentration arms advanced nursing students with broad knowledge and skills in the management, organization, and delivery of systems of care, with a focus on human and financial resource management.
  2. Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): This concentration area prepares students so they can provide and manage care for individuals and groups of patients, with a focus on understanding patients’ clinical progression, care transitions and processes, evidence-based practice, quality improvement and patient safety. Students complete core specialty courses focused on patient and system assessment, outcomes management, clinical nurse leadership, as well as coursework addressing the “3Ps” (advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and advanced assessment). Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Health Care Systems
Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Health Care Systems Advanced Practice
US News and World Report Ranking:
#30 Best National University
#3 Top Public School
#13 Best Value School
#17 Best Nursing Program
#5 Nursing Administration Program
Annual Cost of Graduate Attendance: $13,693 annual tuition Nursing Program Enrollment: 719
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 63.8%
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

 

Ranking Methodology

The goal of this ranking list is to outline the top 20 Programs offering a graduate degree in the growing field of Clinical Nurse Leadership or Nursing Administration. The system controlling how points are awarded is as follows:

Likelihood of Acceptance

As more and more individuals are pursuing these advanced nursing administration and leadership degrees the ability to be accepted to a college program is becoming increasingly competitive. Those schools with higher acceptance rate were given additional points. US News and World Report provided the data for this score.

Points:
Acceptance Rates Above 60% / 50-59% / 40 – 49%
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Cost of Attendance

Another element considered is the cost of attendance. The cost being compared is the annual graduate tuition and fees for each school as a whole. Cost of attendance data was gathered from US News and World Report.

Points:
Under $25,000 / $25,001 – $30,000/ $30,001 – $35,000
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Points: (Per Credit)
Less that $500 / $501 – $600 / $601- $700
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

College Ranking

The next consideration was whether or not a school has been granted acknowledgement by a national ranking body. The major source of such national notoriety comes from the US News and World Report Best Colleges List. The Data being considered for this ranking list is Best Graduate Program in Clinical Nurse Leadership and Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration, as well as the Top Public School List, Best Value School List and Best Nursing Program list.

Points:

US News and World Report Best National University List, Top Public School List and Best Value School List:

Top 10 / Top 25 / Top 50 / Top 100
5 Points / 3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

US News and World Report Graduate Program in Nursing Administration Ranking, Best Clinical Nurse Leadership Program and Best Graduate Program in Nursing:

Top 10 / Top 25 / Top 50
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Peer Assessment Score

Additional consideration was given to the Peer Assessment Score issued by US News and World Report ranking lists for best Clinical Nurse Leadership, Nursing Administration and Graduate Nursing Program. US News and World Report arrived at these scores by asking selected respondents to complete a questionnaire, which rated the overall academic quality of the specific program at each institution on a five-point scale.

Points:
U.S. News and World Report Peer Assessment Score
4.0 – 4.2 / 4.3 – 4.4 / 4.5 – 4.6
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Accreditation

In order to be included in this ranking list an appropriate ranking body must regionally accredit each college or university. Those schools that have received additional accreditation are given an edge over schools without the stamp of accreditation.

Points:
Accreditation: 1 Point Each

Grading Process

Once the points have been tallied, the schools were sorted based on points earned. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools with the lower cost of attendance. The main purpose of this list is to highlight the top 20 Schools offering a Degree in Clinical Nurse Leadership and Nursing Administration. Specializations, awards and achievements earned by the school or department have also been noted.

Posted February 2016