The University of San Francisco: School of Nursing and Health Professions

RN (Associates in Nursing) to MSN Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

The RN-MSN accelerated degree program is designed for the registered nurse who holds an Associate's Degree in Nursing and has now decided to pursue graduate nursing education.


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Accepting applications for Spring 2014 at our San Jose campus and online.

Application deadline for Spring 2014 is October 15, 2013.


Frequently Asked Questions

Curriculum Pattern

MSN Projects Description

The program is one that builds upon the student's prior training, provides content and clinical experiences in community health nursing and leadership/management and moves the student directly into graduate nursing education. Although students will enter the program without an earned bachelor's degree, as they progress through the course of study, they will meet the program outcomes of the MSN program. The total curriculum requirement is 46 units.

All graduates of the program will meet the AACN CNL master's degree outcome competencies and practice standards and be eligible for certification by the national American Nurses' Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). 
A clinical nurse leader is (CNL) is a masters' prepared nurse generalist who assumes accountability for the healthcare outcomes of a specific group of patients within a unit or setting through the assimilation and application of research-based information to design, implement, and evaluate patient outcomes at the point of care. The emerging role of the CNL is a national initiative in response to patient care needs and the current health delivery environments. The CNL is a provider and a manager of care. S/he designs, implements, and evaluates care by coordinating, delegating, and supervising the care provided by the health care team, including licensed nurses, technicians, and other health professionals.

Program Objectives
Upon completion of the program the graduate will be able to:

  1. Design, coordinate and evaluate care to individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations; understand the rationale for care a competently deliver this care to an increasingly complex and diverse population in multiple environments.
  2. Provide care at the point of care to individuals across the lifespan with particular emphasis on health promotion and risk reduction services.
  3. Synthesize data, information and knowledge to evaluate and achieve optimal client outcomes.
  4. Ensure that clients, families and communities are well informed included in care planning and is an informed leader for improving care.
  5. Advocate for the client by taking action if decisions or activities are against the wishes or interests of the client; give the client the opportunity to make informed decisions about health care before it is provided. Serve as an advocate for the profession and the interdisciplinary health care team.
  6. Use appropriate teaching principles and strategies as well as current information, materials and technologies to teach clients, groups and other health care professionals under their supervision.
  7. Use information systems and technology that put knowledge at the point of care to improve health care outcomes.
  8. Participate in systems review to improve quality of client care delivery and at the individual level to critically evaluate and anticipate risks to client safety with the aim of preventing medical error.
  9. Delegate and manage the nursing team resources (human and fiscal) and serve as a leader and partner in the interdisciplinary health care team.
  10. Assume accountability for the ongoing acquisition of knowledge and skills to effect change in health care practice and outcomes and in the profession

Admission Criteria
Admission to the program is based on an overall appraisal of the applicant's ability to undertake master's study and of their potential contributions to the discipline of nursing as evidence by the following:

  • Unofficial transcripts from colleges/universities attended are accepted at the time of application.  Official transcripts will be required upon admission.  
  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • Documentation of professional license
  • TOEFL scores if needed/Certificate of Finances/Copy of Passport (International Students Only)
  • Submit documentation of CLEP College Composition. For more informaiton about the CLEP exam, please visit the website at

Highlights of the School of Nursing and Health Professions

  • The first private university nursing program in the State
  • Accredited by the California State Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • One application - no separate application required for the School of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Admission of nursing students in the fall and spring semester at the Main Campus
  • The Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions was ranked in the top 40 best nursing programs in the nation by US News and World Report
  • The RN-MSN degree program was designed for the working adult. Theory courses will be taught on one day a week each semester.  
  • Earn your MSN degree in two years.
  • Program will also be offered at selected branch campuses as well 
  • Financial Assistance for those who qualify

For more information
San Francisco Main Campus -  Susana Torres, (415) 422-2806
Pleasanton Branch Campus -  Desiree Shaw, (925) 867-2711,
Santa Rosa Branch Campus - Alexandria Weishaar (707) 527-9612 x5585,
San Jose Branch Campus - Natasha Odama, (408) 343-7100,