Skip to main content

Clinical Nurse Leader Program

Become a change agent to improve patient care as a Clinical Nurse Leader.

People sitting around a table.

The Clinical Nurse Leader program prepares nurses to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by the broader patient base and health care system. Learn how to put evidence-based practice into action and expand your role as a leader.

Program Length

37 credits

Plus 448 clinical immersion hours


Program Format

Hybrid Online

Coursework is offered in-person or online in the evenings.

Application Deadline

Sept. 15

For the Spring 2025 semester start

CNL LogoGraduates of this program will be prepared to sit for the national certification exam with the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) to earn professional certification as a CNL. Over the last four years, 100% of our CNL graduates passed the CNL certification exam on their first attempt. 

Why Become a CNL?

There is a critical need to improve the quality of patient care outcomes. Nurses who earn a master's degree as a CNL become clinical leaders who work at the complex intersection of clinical care, population health, and health care management to focus on safety and quality.

Nurse with mask on looking at iPad in clinical setting

Program Curriculum & Outcomes

We were one of the first institutions to offer a master’s degree aligned with the CNL certification, and we are the only CNL program in Upstate NY. The CNL program features hybrid coursework and an immersion experience/capstone project, preparing nurses to:

  • put evidence-based clinical practice into action with a focus on safety and quality
  • improve patient care at the point of care delivery
  • expand their role as care coordinators, clinical informaticists, unit educators, program coordinators, nurse managers, or nurse executives. 
Quotation Mark

The CNL degree really prepares you to jump into any environment and change it for the better. In my current role, I am able to dive into clinical challenges that people are having or clinical workflows on a unit and find ways for technology to meet those needs.

Watch Video
Rachel Steffen, CNL, RN-BC Headshot

Rachel Steffen, CNL, RN-BC

Program Director of Nursing Informatics, UR Medicine

Linda Migliore, MS, RN, NPD-BC, CNL

Linda Migliore, MS, RN, NPD-BC, CNL

Specialty Director, Leadership programs

Linda Migliore is a well-known clinical leader with more than four decades of leadership experience at the University of Rochester Medical Center; providing leadership as a senior nurse manager, retention officer, and leadership internship coordinator, as well as co-coordinator for the nursing leadership and nurse manager orientation programs. Having earned a CNL degree from the University of Rochester School of Nursing in 2012, she has specialized in staff and leadership development focusing on how successful leaders impact patient outcomes.

Linda Migliore Faculty Profile

Explore More

Learn more about the CNL role, how to apply, and financial aid and scholarship information.

CNL Academics & Curriculum

CNL Eligibility & Admissions

CNL Financial Aid & Scholarships

Connect With Us

Interested in a master's in leadership program? Connect with us to learn about the benefits of earning your master's from the University of Rochester.

Scroll to top of page