Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) play a vital role in the field of health care. They bridge together nursing, patient care and the whole industry of health care. Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice nurses who are master’s degree holders in their field. A clinical nurse specialist performs several important roles such as training new nurses, coming up with new methods of practice that helps lessen the burden on nurses, developing new methods of disease prevention and treatment for various patients and creating an overall positive change in the health care industry. They are concerned with the overall benefits for nurses and patients alike.
Clinical Nurse Specialists Education and Training Requirements
As with all other nursing professions, clinical nurse specialists are required to finish a bachelor’s degree in nursing and subsequently become Registered Nurses by passing certification exams. Furthermore, they are required to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree as a clinical nurse specialist. There are plenty of nurse training center available in US which will assist you with choosing your field studies properly.
There are two choices after obtaining as master’s or doctoral degree. First is to take and pass a certification exam for their particular field of specialty. Clinical nurse specialists may also complete several state licensing board requirements if their specialties do not require certification exams.
Clinical nurse specialists may attain expertise in any of these general areas:
- Medical sub-specialty in diseases such as diabetes and oncology
- Population health like geriatrics and pediatrics.
- Medical Settings like the ER, OR and other critical care areas.
- Types of Care such as rehabilitation or psychiatric.
- Types of Health Problems that may involve stress, pain, wounds and others.
Clinical Nurse Specialists Duties and Responsibilities
Clinical nurse specialist practices in three different domains or spheres of influence. These spheres involve patients, the nursing personnel and the healthcare system. They also focus on the seven core areas found within these spheres of influence. These areas are called core competencies.
The first core competency is Direct Clinical Practice. This area focuses in the implementation of nursing care and the assessment and evaluation of outcomes. The second core competency is called Expert Coaching. This involves training and coaching new nurses to educate them on how to give proper care to their patients. Through these trainings, the importance of focus and team work is highlighted. This area may also include training patients and their families.
Consultation is another core area. This area includes review of various methods of patient care and the implementation of possible changes. The fourth core area is called Research. This focuses on interpreting and evaluating practice through research and may even include collaboration for research work.
Another core competency is Clinical and Professional Leadership. Here, a clinical nurse specialist focuses in providing the best possible health care through various methods to improve the quality of healthcare service. The last core competency is called Ethical Decision Making. This involves dealing with ethical dilemmas in the practice, distributing resources in the healthcare system and directing methods of care for various patients. Read more about CNS career overview for better understanding.
Compensation and benefits
There is a need for more qualified clinical nurse specialists to feed the growing demand for this profession. In the United States alone, around 70,000 clinical nurse specialists practice in various settings. A new clinical nurse specialist may earn an average of $50,000 a year. Depending on experience, specialty and location of practice, some new practitioners may even earn as much as $100,000 annually.