Why the USF MSN is for RNs

Empowering Tomorrow’s Nursing Leaders

If you seek the challenge of improving health care on an organizational as well as patient level, the University of San Francisco online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program will help prepare you with the knowledge and skills to help you reach your goals.

The University of San Francisco RN to MSN Program

The University of San Francisco is at the forefront of the nurse leadership movement, recognized as one of the first schools in the nation to offer the RN to MSN degree program online and make it easier for working professionals to advance their knowledge.

Our school has pioneered a “big picture approach” to patient outcomes, helping to empower RNs to become Clinical Nurse Leaders  with the skill and knowledge to provide high-quality care in increasingly complex health care environments. Instead of preparing nurses for a specific type of practice, as many MSN programs do, the University of San Francisco focuses on developing nurses who strive to foster meaningful change as Clinical Nurse Leaders who are masters prepared advanced generalists.

Flexible Online Learning Delivered by Expert Faculty

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions has the nation’s largest number of Clinical Nurse Leader-certified faculty members. The diverse team includes clinicians, managers, practitioners, and executives, all of whom hold their doctorate or are currently in the process of earning it.

You can expect our faculty members to act as advisors and mentors, working closely with you to explore your strengths and interests, helping you plan your academic career, assisting you with future career planning, and guiding you through your practicum experiences.

Your practicum will be conducted in a clinical setting close to your home to accommodate your schedule as a working professional. You’ll also have maximum flexibility in arranging your studies to meet your individual needs.

A Holistic Approach to Nursing Education

Leveraging a solid scientific foundation, our curriculum focuses on quality improvement, patient safety, and care coordination with other health professionals. The University of San Francisco also includes the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification exam as part of your degree program. Your three major areas of focus throughout the RN to MSN program will be:

  • Management

Clinical Nurse Leaders need to know how to build a business case for turning their visions into reality. The online nursing program at the University of San Francisco prepares you to apply management theory to ensure the best possible use of human, environmental, and material resources.

  • Evidence-Based Nursing

You will analyze the latest literature, research, and breakthroughs in medical science, and learn how to leverage that knowledge to improve individual patient outcomes and health care policies. You will use the skills gained throughout the program in a culminating project, applying evidence-based nursing to an issue of your choice.

  • Leadership

There is a need for more nurses to provide leadership at the executive level where the decisions are made. That’s why the University of San Francisco RN to MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program emphasizes communication, collaboration, and consultation, developing your abilities to build alliances and accurately assess the scope of practice within a health care team.

The Future of Nursing Leadership

To keep abreast of ongoing technological innovation, medical breakthroughs, and advancements in health care, today’s nursing professionals are encouraged to pursue advanced degrees. With the growing demand for further education comes an increased demand for new roles – roles that impact patients at all levels and incorporate leadership skills to facilitate positive change.

The Clinical Nurse Leader role emerged as a result of the increasing complexity of patient care needs and health delivery environments. As the industry continues its efforts to optimize health care systems, the value of CNLs who can design, implement, coordinate, and evaluate care becomes more apparent.

Health care facilities nationwide hire Clinical Nurse Leaders because of the significant contributions these RNs can make in:

  • Designing, coordinating, and evaluating care for individuals, families, groups, communities, and entire patient populations.
  • Delivering evidence-based care to an increasingly complex and diverse population in multiple environments.
  • Leveraging technology to synthesize data, information, and knowledge to evaluate and achieve optimal patient outcomes.
  • Participating in system reviews to improve quality and safety of patient care delivery.
  • Manage nursing team resources, while also serving as a leader and partner of the interdisciplinary health care team.

Clinical Nurse Leaders are also important in patient advocacy and education efforts. The online RN to MSN program at the University of San Francisco will also help develop your abilities to advocate for the patient if decisions or activities are against his or her wishes or interests, as well as serve as an advocate for the profession and the interdisciplinary health care team.

Graduate in as Few As Two Years

The online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program effectively links classroom and practicum experiences with expectations for competence, compassion, and justice in health care within the context of the highest academic standards.

Students who have an ADN participate in a 46-unit-hour program, while BSN graduates require only 35 unit-hours to gain their online MSN degree. Throughout the RN to MSN program, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with your professors, collaborate with your fellow students, and build and nurture networking relationships. Virtual office hours, faculty-monitored chat rooms, message boards and e-mail, along with small class sizes, will also allow for the one-on-one faculty attention you desire.

Why Choose the University of San Francisco

In 2005, our School of Nursing and Health Professions became the first to offer a Clinical Nurse Leader MSN. The creation of this program portrays our level of dedication to help improve the quality of health care and patient outcomes in nursing.

Enrolling in the online RN to MSN program means being part of a one-of-a-kind experience that combines evidence-based practice, leadership skills, and implementation with the power of Jesuit tradition, all with the underlying goal of creating a more humane and just world for future generations.


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