What Is the MSN Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Program?

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Master’s Degree program is designed to prepare nurses to lead interprofessional teams at the unit level, encouraging a coordinated approach to patient care in often complex environments.

  • Successful CNLs emphasize disease prevention and universal access to high quality, cost effective, and culturally competent care for all patients.
  • CNLs are trained to implement evidence-based best practices, evaluate potential risks to patient safety, identify and monitor care outcomes, provide education to various communities, and design health promotion and risk reduction services for diverse populations.

Academic Partner

Kaiser Permanente is partnering with University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions for applicants interested in becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader.

Visit the USF page to learn more about the Clinical Nurse Leader role.


This program is available only for KFH/HP non-represented benefited (20+ hours) registered nurse leaders (e.g. Assistant Nurse Managers, Nurse Managers, Nursing Shift Supervisors, Quality Nurse Consultants, Directors and other non-union exempt or non-union non-exempt nurse leaders) in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region. Participants must be Kaiser Foundation Hospital employees, and must remain Kaiser Foundation Hospital employees during the program (this program is not open to TPMG employees).

Program Details

The program is designed for working registered nurse leaders.

CNL candidates’ projects must demonstrate performance improvement and advance Kaiser Permanente’s mission for nursing leadership, practice, and research.

Step 1 – Kaiser Permanente Nurse Scholars Academy Application:

Please read our FAQ for instructions on how to apply to the Nurse Scholars Academy.

After submitting your Nurse Scholars Academy application, you will need to notify your direct supervisor and Chief Nurse Executive (or relevant Regional Executive or Senior Continuum Leader) that they will receive an email from the Nurse Scholars Academy to complete a reference form. Timely completion of these forms is required for sponsorship review and approval.

Step 2 – University of San Francisco Application:

You must meet the University of San Francisco requirements for admission into the program. This is a separate process. If you are approved for KP Nurse Scholars Academy sponsorship, you will receive instructions on how to apply to USF.


The cohort starting in Spring 2019 is forming now. Please know that space is limited for this NSA sponsored cohort. If you are interested in this program, please apply now! The Kaiser Permanente Nurse Scholars applications will close when our maximum capacity is reached, or by October 21, 2018 at 11:45 pm.

Financial Assistance

The Nurse Scholars Academy will provide tuition assistance to nurses who are approved to participate in this program. Employees also may be eligible for Kaiser Permanente’s Education Assistance & Tuition Reimbursement. Go to My HR for more information. You must log in to My HR using your single sign-on user ID and password.

Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to frequently asked questions, check out our FAQ page. If you have additional questions, please use our contact form.