One hundred percent of Colby-Sawyer’s first cohort of Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students passed the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification exam on their first attempt. For comparison, the national pass rate for the CNL exam over the last seven years averages 70 percent.

In collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock (DH), the college’s longtime partner in health professions, Colby-Sawyer launched the 37-credit graduate program in fall 2016. The first class enrolled 12 registered nurses employed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), four of whom also completed their B.S. in nursing at Colby-Sawyer.

“We could not be more proud of our first graduating class of M.S.N students,” said Susan Reeves ’88, dean of Colby-Sawyer’s School of Nursing and Health Professions. “These amazing nurse professionals all worked full-time while completing this rigorous program. That they all passed the national board certification specialty examination on their first attempt is a testament to their hard work and talent, as well as the quality of their instruction by first-class faculty.”

Passing the exam officially certifies the students as CNLs, an emerging nursing role established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in response to the need for cost-effective nurse leaders that can provide evidence-based health care delivery across a variety of clinical settings.

“Throughout these two years, as all good CNLs do, we learned to network, to find our resources, and to reach out to the great unknown to get a job done,” said MSN graduate Jane Eaton at the Nursing Pinning and Hooding Ceremony held May 4. “We will forever be the first master’s class at Colby-Sawyer and the first team of CNLs to infiltrate the halls of DHMC.”

Eaton has worked at DHMC since 2011 and now serves as a clinical nurse supervisor in the inpatient surgical unit.

As CNLs, Colby-Sawyer’s 2018 MSN graduates are prepared for practice across the continuum of care within any setting in today’s changing health care environment. CNLs oversee care coordination, provide direct patient care in complex situations, ensure patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery, evaluate patient outcomes and have the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary.

This year’s class presented their Capstone projects, which explored improving areas such as the communication among health care teams and the discharge process for infants affected by substance abuse, to the larger DH community in the spring.

About the MSN at Colby-Sawyer

The graduate nursing program is designed for the baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse and will prepare those who will practice as advanced nurse generalists in the health care setting. Degree candidates in this highly selective program meet weekly for courses and clinical practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and for lab and classroom instruction on the Colby-Sawyer campus. Additional hybrid/online didactic coursework is completed on students’ schedule.