Graduates of the USC Upstate Nursing Program


The Mary Black School of Nursing is pleased to offer the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a concentration area of Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). Upon completion of the program, the graduate will be eligible for CNL certification through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). 

The Clinical Nurse Leader is a relatively new role in nursing. In practice, the CNL is an advanced generalist who oversees the care coordination of a distinct group of patients and actively provides direct patient care in complex situations. This master’s degree-prepared clinician puts evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL evaluates patient outcomes, assesses cohort risk and has the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. The CNL is a leader in the healthcare delivery system. The implementation of this role will vary across settings.

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Becoming a CNL

Those interested in becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader are encouraged to visit the AACN website to find out more about this nursing career option. Detailed information is available online including frequently asked questions, the white paper on the CNL role and a directory of web links to programs enrolling students. Access the online CNL Resource at
This program is for registered nurses who are graduates of an accredited Bachelor of Science program in nursing. Students in the MSN program have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills for leadership roles in professional nursing practice in a wide variety of settings. Registered nurses who meet the admission requirements for the program may complete the program in two calendar years of full-time study. Students selecting part-time study may take three years to complete the program. The program of study is primarily online except for clinical courses. 

The University of South Carolina Upstate’s Master of Science in Nursing program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

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