Hall hosts first ever clinical nurse leaders program

Seton Hall’s Clinical Nurse Leader master’s program graduated its first class in August from their 22-month program, the first and only level entry-level program of its kind in New Jersey.

The full-time program, which awards a Master of Science in Nursing degree, is designed for those with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree who have decided to enter the nursing profession.

The program started in 2007 with 22 students, according to Kristyn Kent-Wuillermin, Director of Strategic Alliances, Marketing and Enrollment for the College of Nursing, in an e-mail interview. 36 students are currently enrolled in the program.

The program is composed of 80 credits, which includes clinical role development courses. The final semester consists of a clinical, according to the Seton Hall College of Nursing website.

Wuillermin said CNLs are “advanced generalists who research and apply evidence-based practices to the patients for whom they care, within hospitals, nursing homes, federally qualified health centers and wherever nurses work. They are an active member of a clinical care team.”

The program provides students with knowledge of how to use evidence-based practices. Students start their clinical rotations in the first semester, according to Wuillermin.

According to Wuillermin, the College of Nursing had several reasons for starting the program, such as growing U.S. trends, which include improving healthcare outcomes and reducing healthcare costs, and nursing faculty shortage. The program will help both of these.

According to its admission website, candidates must have a baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing major with a cumulative 3.2 GPA and have completed a number of specified pre-requisite courses. Academic good standing, with C or better grades in each course, is also required.

According to Wuillermin, the program’s capstone project requires students to identify an area that can be improved in one of Seton Hall’s partner health organizations. They must “implement a process to improve the inidentified issue,” and present the plan to senior management in the particular organization.

According to Wuillermin, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and a national examination to be certified as a CNL upon graduation.

Cassandra Bressler MSN, RN, CNL, was a part of the first CNL class, which began in Sept. 2008. She graduated in August, 2010.

“I wanted to participate in the CNL program because it was a master’s program that would give me the opportunity to teach later in my career as well as the leadership and evidence-based practice part of the degree,” Bressler said in an e-mail interview. “I want to help people and the CNL degree helps people by improving patient care experiences and decreasing length of stay.”

According to Bressler, the program provides classes on leadership, through theory, administration and health care teams.

Though the program was “very challenging,” Bressler said she learned “so much,” and it was “absolutely worth the time and effort.”

Bressler said the CNL degree gives a new graduate nurse something others do not have.

“Hospitals today want a nurse who understands evidence based practice, who has a desire to improve practice, and is motivated in the nursing field; this program provides all of that,” Bressler said.

The University’s CNL program does not compare to others’ programs, according to Bressler.

“The clinical instruction that we received was in depth with a total of nine clinicals, and we were able to perform and perfect numerous nursing skills,” Bressler said. “The faculty used a variety of techniques to facilitate learning and were all very receptive to all the students.”

Brittany Biesiada can be reached at brittany.biesiada@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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