Master of Science inNursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Care and Outcomes Manager Roles

The COM coursework is organized around flexible learning modules that allow the program to be tailored toward a specific role. Role specialization options include Advanced Generalist, Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Administrator, and Clinical Nurse Educator.

Advanced Generalist

As frontline caregivers, the generalist nurse plans and provides direct care to patients, interacts with families, coordinates patient care that requires regular interface with other members of the health care team (nurses, physicians, and others), and participates in organizational activities that promote safe, quality and efficient patient care. To that end, the generalist nurse must be a clinical expert, educator, skilled communicator, trustworthy team player, and a systems’ thinker who is knowledgeable about and capable of implementing various performance improvement strategies. Specifically, three major categories of competencies are offered below.

Typical roles and responsibilities include:

  • Clinical Expertise
    • Excellence in assessment of the patient’s health status and expectations
    • Ability to anticipate and prevent patient risks for additional harm or complications
    • Confidence and capability with the appropriate selection and application of evidence-based practices for treating the patient’s condition and risks
    • Use of data and information to make clinical decisions
    • Ability to teach others (staff and patients) about health care conditions and risks, both informally (just-in-time, on the spot), and formally (structured class room setting)
  • Communication
    • Effective verbal communication skills with patients and families, including careful ‘translation’ of health information into language understood by non-health care professionals, and respectful of diverse cultural perspectives
    • Effective verbal communication skills with other health care professionals, across disciplines and departments within a health care organization (including dialogue that respectfully challenges appropriate selection of treatment approaches)
    • Ability to foster teamwork about specific patient care activities, as well as around organizational projects and priority activities
    • Clear written communication skills, specific to the documentation of patient care and for creating other documents that outline health care issues within the organizations (e.g., policies, procedures, educational material)
  • Systems-Thinking
    • Familiarity with the concepts of systems thinking
    • Modeling systems thinking, including application of analytical skills when evaluating various events or trends within the patient care setting (e.g., root cause analysis, failure mode effects analysis) and behaviors that promote systems thinking (e.g., non-punitive stance when errors occur, reporting of own errors
    • Knowledge about effective use of various performance improvement strategies aimed at minimizing harm to patients, improving the quality of care, eliminating waste and inefficiencies of process
  •  Roles of the Advanced Nurse Generalist
    • Coordinator of Care: Directs activities of nursing staff to ensure the provision of safe, efficient, fiscally responsible, outcomes driven, and evidence-based care
    • Designer, implementer, and evaluator of health services directed at risk reduction, promotion, and services for diverse populations
    •  Manager, developer, and user of information technology
    •  Client and nursing advocate
    •  Educator of interdisciplinary groups and diverse populations

The above content is adapted from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website. More information about the Advanced Generalist role can be found at the AACN website and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website.


Clinical Nurse Leader:

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is a nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with an array of leaders from the practice environment. The Clinical Nurse Leader role emerged following several years of research and discussion with stakeholders as a way to engage highly skilled clinicians in outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies. The CNL is an advanced generalist clinician with education at the master's degree level. Graduate education is necessary because the CNL must bring a high level of clinical competence and knowledge to the point of care and to serve as a resource for the nursing team.

Typical roles and responsibilities include:

  • Care coordination of a distinct group of patients
  • Provide direct patient care in complex situations
  • Use evidence-based practice to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery.
  • Collect and evaluate patient outcomes, assess cohort risk, and change care plans when necessary
  • Function as part of an interdisciplinary team by communicating, planning, and implementing care directly with other health care professionals, including physicians, pharmacists, social workers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners
  • Specific CNL positions include nurse manager, nursing director and chief nursing officer, case manager, utilization review coordinator, or risk manager among others

The above content is adapted from the AACN website. To learn more about the CNL role visit the AACN CNL information page and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Nurse Administrator

A nurse administrator manages and organizes other nurses, provides leadership as a member of an administrative team in hospitals, clinics or other health care organizations, and influences and implements institutional policies. Most of the work of a nurse administrator is done in an office and not on the care floor, so an administrator has little or no direct contact with patients. A nurse administrator may work in a hospital, nursing home, private doctor's office, home health care organization or urgent care facility.

Typical roles and responsibilities include:

  • Creates work schedules, gives performance reviews and develops work policies. Other job duties include keeping up
  • Implementing established ethical and legal standards for job performance,
  • Attending administrative personnel meetings and developing new employee training. Nurse Administrator Requirements
  • Specific nursing administrator positions include nurse manager, nursing director and chief nursing officer, case manager, utilization review coordinator, or risk manager among others

The above content is adapted and More information on the Nurse Administrator role can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Clinical Nurse Educator 

Clinical nurse educators are healthcare professionals who educate and train aspiring nurses or newly graduated nurses. They work in academic and hospital settings. Analytical, communication and project management skills are essential traits in this profession. According to the Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow website, nurse educators need a broad skill set: "Nurse educators need to have excellent communication skills, be creative, have a solid clinical background, be flexible and possess excellent critical thinking skills."

Certification in this field is voluntary. A Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) designation is available through the National League for Nursing (NLN). Basic eligibility criteria include a master's or doctoral degree in nursing education and a minimum of two years of full-time teaching experience.

Typical roles and responsibilities include:

  • Curriculum design and program development
  • Teaching and learning from an outcomes perspective
  • Curriculum and program evaluation
  • Fill both faculty and traditional nursing roles

The above content is adapted from,, and More information on nursing roles may be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. See also  Nurse Educator on, The Preparation of Nurse Educators by the National League for Nursing, and Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact Sheet and Faculty Shortage White Paper by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Links to information about other MSN/COM roles: 

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