The Clinical Nurse Leader Pre-Licensure Program

The Clinical Nurse Leader Pre-Licensure Program



The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Master of Science in Nursing degree program is an innovative accelerated graduate program for individuals with non-nursing bachelor's degrees. CNL students can complete this degree program in 16 months and are prepared to enter the nursing profession by translating the skills and experiences from their education to launch their careers in nursing.

The CNL program is a generalist degree developed to address the fragmentation of patient care and to provide accountability for healthcare outcomes. The CNL is a leader in the healthcare delivery system that concentrates on the coordination of patient care and is not a role specific to nursing administration or management. The CNL assumes responsibility for healthcare outcomes by designing, implementing and evaluating patient plans of care.

Graduates of this program are eligible to take the NCLEX licensure examination for Registered Nurses (RN) and the CNL Certification exam offered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

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We will accept applications for Fall 2017 from August 25-February 1.

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Course of Study:

The CNL program is four consecutive semesters, 16 months long.  The program is currently offered at Augusta and Athens, Georgia campuses.  All courses are taught using a real-time technology enhanced process so all students on all campuses receive the same instruction at the same time.  Students are able to ask questions of off-site instructors as well as hear the questions asked from other campuses. 


Established in 2006, the Augusta University Clinical Nurse Leader program was the 10th in the nation and remains the first and only type of prelicensure CNL program in the state of Georgia. In 2007, a satellite campus in Athens was established. 

Initially, the CNL Program was instituted in collaboration with MCG Health and University Health Care Systems in Augusta. Students practice skills in the LRC and high fidelity simulation lab.  

Today, our CNL partners have grown to include: Athens Regional Medical Center, St. Mary's Hospital (Athens), Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (Augusta) and Emory Healthcare (Atlanta). All of these partner institutions enthusiastically support the CNL education efforts as well as provide possible career opportunities for our CNL graduates. These clinical partners enhance the development of the role of the CNL throughout the state of Georgia.

Program Goals:

The goals of the program are that upon completion CNL students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate safe, accountable, and comprehensive nursing care to individuals, families, and communities.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and decision making in health care situations.
  • Evaluate and apply theories and research findings to the advanced generalist practice of nursing.
  • Collaborate with health care providers and consumers to design and initiate strategies to promote wellness, reduce risk, and influence the nature and outcomes of population-appropriate health care services.
  • Engage in advanced generalist practice, based on legal and ethical principles and professional standards of practice.
  • Assume a leadership role in identifying, synthesizing, resolving, and evaluating issues that have an actual or potential impact on nursing and health care.


CNL Program Director
Stephanie Wright, DNP, RN, MBA

CNL Program Manager

Emily Holsey
T 706-721-9767