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Clinical Nurse Specialists Have Numerous Options When Mapping Out A Career Path
How To Become A Clinical Nurse Specialist

A clinical nurse specialist carriers far more responsibilities than does a registered nurse. With a master’s degree in nursing or even a doctoral degree, a clinical nurse specialist is able to perform many of the same medical duties that a doctor does. You can find clinical nurse specialists in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and public health facilities, as well as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, child welfare offices, and home health care agencies. In fact, some CSN’s will even go into private practice. If you are considering a career as a CNS, your place of employment will very much depend on what specialty you choose to pursue. Clinical Nurse Specialists or CNS are nurses who have completed advanced studies and hold a master’s or doctoral degree in a certain field of practice in nursing. The areas of CNS specialization are categorized according to a healthcare setting (intensive care, emergency care), population segment (geriatrics, pediatrics, adolescents, mothers), a type of care (drug rehabilitation, psychotherapy), a medical specialty (oncology, neurology), or a type of health condition (pain, stress, wounds). There is a positive projection on the growth of this area, seen to be driven by demands in more development in nursing as well as the advancement of clinical research.

Responsibilities And Duties of A Clinical Nurse Specialist ➤

Aside from the basic nursing responsibility of CNS that concentrate on providing assistance to patients in the prevention or treatment of health conditions, the scope of the profession also includes diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and disabilities within the area of specialty. Clinical nurse specialists offer direct patient care, serve as consultants for nursing divisions in hospitals, and can also take active participation to improve a given healthcare system. These specialists also serve in a supervisory role over other regular registered nurses and auxiliary nurses, and they are usually involved in the administration or management of a hospital, nursing care facility or clinic. The duties you would take on as a clinical nurse specialist will vary depending on your chosen area of specialty. Gynecological exams and wellness exams, making treatment recommendations, referring patients to specialists, ordering laboratory tests, and counseling families may all fall under the scope of a CNS. You may even specialize in the field of child or adult psychology. Because a CNS has an advanced degree in nursing and additional clinical experience, he or she is able to take on greater responsibility and enjoy greater autonomy than registered nurses are. Often clinical nurse specialists are supervisors of other members of the nursing staff. In fact, a clinical nurse specialist may serve as an administrator overall staff besides the physicians in a hospital, clinic, or medical office. If you would like to move your career in a managerial direction, you can do so by pursuing an advanced degree and a career as a clinical nurse specialist.

steps on becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist ➤


After completing high school and you decide that you want to pursue a career in the healthcare industry as a CNS, you will need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN degree, which is a four-year course. It involves both theoretical and practical nursing studies. However, there is also an option to complete first an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and then later gain experience as an auxiliary nurse and then pursue a complete BSN course.
If you are already a registered nurse, you already hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you wish to advance in your career to become a clinical nurse specialist, you will need to go on to obtain a master’s or even a doctoral degree in nursing as well. Every master’s level program involves certain general nursing classes; beyond that, you will be able to steer your class options toward your area of specialization. If you are interested in family practice or general medicine, you will want to complete a general course of study that encompasses an array of topics.


Being a registered nurse or RN is also a prerequisite to becoming a CNS. You need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to prove your competence. After passing the exam, it is important to gain experience at least one year as a registered nurse before qualifying to study in a master’s degree program in nursing.


A Master of Science in Nursing is an advanced level of academic degree in different advance nursing specialties such as geriatrics, neonatal, pediatrics, palliative, psychiatric, etc. Before being accepted, you need to complete a BSN degree from a reputable university and have completed the course with a GPA of 3.0. As mentioned above, you need to pass the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse and then gain experience for at least one year. Once you have completed the course work for your master’s degree, you will need to write a thesis, which should be relevant to your chosen specialty, and then you will be required to complete multiple clinical placements. If you choose to advance to a doctoral degree, a dissertation will be required, and additional clinical hours. This higher degree is a good idea if you are interested in working in a very specific area of the medical field, such as child oncology or cardiovascular health.

Finally, becoming certified is the final step before you can be offered employment. There is a test devised and evaluated by the American Nurses Credential Center; once you have passed it, you will be licensed. You must renew your license every five years.

The Advantages To Pursuing An Advanced Nursing Degree:-

The job outlook is very positive for clinical nurse specialists, even on a long-range basis. As the costs of medical care continue to soar, the need for nurses with advanced degrees who can take on some or all of the duties of doctors continues to grow as well. The average salary of a general clinical nurse specialist is around $89,967, but it can be higher depending on your area of specialization and your geographical region. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this average salary will increase by at least to grow by 31% by 2026. Additionally, there is a shortage of these highly educated nurses, making it easy to find a position once you have become certified.

A Personal Profile Of A Clinical Nurse Specialist ➤

There are many different characteristics that can help you become a successful clinical nurse specialist. The first is a passion for being a nurse, and for helping your patients live healthy lives. All clinical nurse specialists must have excellent communication skills and be very organized. You will have to communicate with patients, families, physicians, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, and so on.
You do not have to desire a managerial position in order to be a successful CNS. This is only one direction your career may take. Some clinical nurse specialists aspire to be supervisors or administrators, and getting that advanced degree and certification is a great way to reach that goal. However, many others obtain that graduate degree in order to enjoy a greater degree of autonomy on the job and to be able to treat patients from diagnosis to treatment, and beyond. Whichever direction you choose, you are certain to find a rewarding and lucrative career in the specialty of your choice.

Salary Range:-

According to salary.com, the salary range of CNS is from $86,769 to $125,574  which varies according to specialization and location.
In summary, Clinical nurse specialists are registered nurses who have advanced degrees or doctorates in the nursing field. As the name suggests “specialist,” a nurse will then go on to specialize in one area of medicine such as oncology or emergency room services (see description above). Clinical nurse specialists (CNS), who are highly trained in their chosen area of practice, will diagnose and treat patients at a level concurrent with a physician. This means besides diagnosing and treating patients, a clinical nurse specialist can also prescribe medications. In some states the CNS is required to get a certification for writing prescriptions – this is the exceptions, not the rule.
Other duties include: delivers comprehensive patient care; consultant to nursing staff; train nursing staff as required; write nursing orders; create discharge plan for patients; prescribing medications/treatments for patients; develop/update nursing policies and procedures; ensure optimal patient care.
How To Become A Clinical Nurse Specialist How To Become A Clinical Nurse Specialist Reviewed by swapee dee on February 24, 2020 Rating: 5
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