South Dakota State ranked No. 7 in Clinical Nurse Leader programs


Press Release, South Dakota State University Marketing and Communications

The South Dakota State University College of Nursing was ranked No. 7 in’s list of 2019 Best Clinical Nurse Leader Programs. The ranking of CNL programs is a first for the firm.

“Clinical nurse leaders are crucial health-care team members, overseeing processes to improve patient outcomes. For advanced registered nurses, the CNL role is something to aspire to if you feel the call to impact quality of care through assessment, management and leadership,” said Sally Worthington, outreach coordinator for “Enrolling in the right Master of Science in nursing or DNP-level CNL program is an important part of the journey. That’s why we’ve ranked the top online/hybrid graduate-level CNL programs, to help prospective students make the most informed choice for their future.

“After carefully analyzing CNL programs in the nation, it became apparent that South Dakota State University not only prepares students for success on the certification exam, but also prepares students to become highly skilled nurses with the confidence and focus to improve safety and quality outcomes for patients,” she continued.

South Dakota State University, which currently has four students pursuing this specialty in its master’s degree program, requires 39 coursework credits, which will be completely online this fall. It previously had only one on-campus lab. Students also complete 420 clinical hours and learn concepts such as health policy, pharmacotherapeutics and much more.

“Our graduates have done some phenomenal things, working on interdisciplinary projects and at major medical centers and hospitals throughout the United States,” said College of Nursing professor and CNL specialty coordinator Lori Hendrickx, noting South Dakota State University was at the table when the American Association of Colleges of Nursing developed the degree. “Several students and graduates have also presented nationally at the CNL Summit.”’s methodology began with obtaining NCLEX-RN exam pass rates for all registered nursing programs on a state-by-state basis through several methods, including making a number of Freedom of Information Act requests. It requested five years of available information. South Dakota State University’s CNL program has a 100 percent pass rate for all graduates, which is significantly higher than the national average.