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Clinical Leader Certificate


The Clinical Leadership (CL) Post-Master's Certificate Program is designed for registered nurses who already hold a master's degree in another nursing specialization and want to become eligible to take the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam. CNL certification is offered by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC), an arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the recognized standard for clinical nursing knowledge.

Learn more about the online Clinical Leadership Certificate program by calling us at 773-298-3053 or email us at

What is a Clinical Nurse Leader?

Clinical Nurse Leaders focus on the improvement of quality and safety outcomes for patients anywhere healthcare is provided. CNLs have the opportunity and capability to address critical issues in healthcare delivery by advising, counseling, and mentoring other nurse practitioners at the point of care. CNLs also seek to improve patient outcomes by designing, implementing, and evaluating patient-care processes and models of care delivery.

The Clinical Leader role is becoming increasingly significant in the healthcare field and one of the most desirable professional nursing designations. According to a 2012 survey of Clinical Nurse Leaders conducted by the Commission on Nurse Education, 92% of respondents felt they were an important member of their interdisciplinary team and 87% felt valued as employees because of their specific CNL knowledge and skills.

Accredited Nursing Program

Saint Xavier University is a Center of Excellence (COE) in Nursing Education as designated by the National League for Nursing (NLN). To achieve COE status, a nursing school must demonstrate sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, or student learning and professional development. Currently, 64 institutions in the United States hold the NLN Center of Excellence in Nursing Education designation.

In addition, Saint Xavier's School of Nursing is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Because of the rigorous standards necessary to earn and maintain accredited status, CCNE-accredited nursing schools like SXU's School of Nursing give prospective students greater confidence in the education they will receive. Earning a nursing degree or certificate from a CCNE-accredited program will also assure employers of the value of your education.

1 The online Clinical Leadership certificate program at Saint Xavier University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791.

Program Requirements

To apply to the CL Certificate Program, students must hold a Master of Science in Nursing degree and have a minimum of 3.0 GPA. Each applicant will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine which courses are necessary for the certificate based on previous coursework.

Required Core Courses include:

  • Epidemiology and Population Based Health Care
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health/Physical Assessment

If students meet the requirements, they will need to complete four practicum courses, totaling 450 nursing practicum hours in order to receive the post-master's certification. Practicum experience allows students to apply clinical leadership theories to develop the real-world skills and advanced nursing knowledge needed to drive change in healthcare delivery.

Admission Requirements

Please view our admission requirements for more information on the application process and admission requirements.

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