MSN – Masters Entry Clinical Nurse (MECN)

Two MECN students playing football

Two of our MECN students, Brandon Rice and Patrick Hill, were former football players. Read about their path to nursing.

Program Description

The MECN program leads to:

The UCLA School of Nursing has an option within the Master of Science in Nursing degree program that is designed to prepare individuals with a baccalaureate degree in another discipline for a career in nursing. This two-year pre-licensure program includes summer enrollment between the first and second years.  Those who complete the program are granted the Master in Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) to be licensed as registered nurses (RN). They are then prepared to practice nursing at the bedside in a hospital setting. Graduates of the program are also qualified to take the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam given by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and may apply for a Public Health Nursing Certificate from the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Learning outcomes

  1. Integrate basic and advanced theoretical and scientific knowledge to provide leadership at the micro-, meso-, and macro-system levels in healthcare organizations. [Essentials* I, II, VI, VII, VIII, IX; QSEN:** teamwork and collaboration, quality improvement]
  2. Utilize the nursing process to provide safe, therapeutic, evidence-based, patient-centered, culturally-sensitive, and high quality care. [Essentials I, III, IV, VI, IX; QSEN: patient-centered care, safety, evidence-based practice, quality improvement]
  3. Demonstrate therapeutic communication and collaborative leadership skills using an evidence-based, theory-driven nursing paradigm. [Essentials I, II, VI, VIII, IX; QSEN: teamwork and collaboration, safety]
  4. Apply reliable and valid nursing and healthcare systems research to improve delivery of nursing care. [Essentials II, III, IV, V, VII, IX; QSEN: evidence-based practice, quality improvement]
  5. Lead team-based quality improvement projects to address practice problems and improve patient safety and healthcare outcomes. [Essentials II, III, IV, V, VII; QSEN: teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety]
  6. Demonstrate leadership, systems, and critical thinking skills that contribute to safe, effective and efficient patient-centered care. [Essentials II, III, IV, VI, Vii, IX; QSEN: teamwork and collaboration, safety, quality improvement, evidence-based practice
  7. Integrate ethical and legal principles in safe, patient-centered care in diverse practice settings. [Essentials I, III, IV, IX; QSEN: patient-centered care, safety]
  8. Provide leadership in professional and community organizations and/or advocacy groups to promote standards of care, policies, regulations and initiatives supporting healthy communities, care quality, and patient safety. [Essentials II, III, VI, VII; QSEN: Teamwork and collaboration, safety, quality improvement]
  9. Apply a global perspective and systematic approach for health promotion, risk reduction, and disease management in diverse populations. [Essentials I, II, IV, VI, VII; QSEN: quality improvement, teamwork and collaboration]
  10. Provide leadership in development and integration of information management and patient care technology to support clinical decision making. [Essentials II, III, IV, V, IX; QSEN: informatics, evidence-based practice, teamwork and collaboration]

*American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing.

**Quality and Safety Education (QSEN). Graduate QSEN Competencies.

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) role was developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to improve systems of care for patients and families. The Clinical Nurse Leader is a master's-prepared advanced nurse generalist who assumes responsibility for patient care outcomes through appraisal, integration, and application of evidence-based information to design, implement, and evaluate patient care processes and models of care delivery. In addition to providing direct patient care CNLs also collect unit-based, patient outcome data to   design better systems of care for a patient population on a specific unit. CNLs collaborate with the healthcare team including physicians, pharmacists, social workers, advanced practice nurses, and clinical nurse specialists to determine the plan of care that will achieve the best possible health outcomes for patients. The CNL is an advanced nurse generalist, a role distinct from that of the nurse practitioner and the clinical nurse specialist who are prepared as advanced specialists in a particular area (CNL Frequently Asked Questions).

Conceptually, the MECN program applies the principles of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention to the care of individuals, families, populations, and communities. The curriculum introduces a systems-level, population-based approach to care early in the program, alongside an intense focus on individual-level provision of care. Course offerings address the core concepts of patient safety; health promotion; risk reduction; ethics, social justice, and health equity; evidence-based practice, informatics, collaboration and teamwork, mental health, public health, systems theory and health care policy, and advanced research and population-based quality improvement in all age groups.  Supervised clinical experiences are designed to apply knowledge in a variety of health-related settings including traditional, inpatient acute care settings, as well as ambulatory care, and public health.  During the final year, students complete a series of leadership courses and a clinical immersion experience in a hospital setting where they also complete a clinical nurse leadership project. 

Clinical practica are conducted with our clinical partners at various hospitals in the community, such as Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical CenterSanta Monica UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, Harbor-UCLA Medical CenterResnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLAMattel Children's Hospital UCLA, the VA-West Los Angeles Healthcare Center, Children's Hospital Los AngelesCedars-Sinai Medical CenterGood Samaritan Hospital Los AngelesNorthridge Hospital Medical Center, St. John's Health Center and Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Graduates of our program have taken nursing positions with our clinical partners and at other hospitals throughout the United States.

Immediately following graduation, MECN graduates will take nursing positions at the bedside in order to hone their nursing skills. It is envisioned that they will move toward leadership roles in nursing.

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