Clinical Nursing Specialists

What is a Clinical Nursing Specialist (CNS)?

Clinical Nursing Specialists have the dual role of care provider and organizational leader. While a CNS usually specializes in a sphere of nursing practice, they should also act as a mentor to the other nurses in their departments, helping to advance the practice of the department of a whole and improve the quality of treatment and the efficiency with which it is delivered.

The duties of a CNS will include many of the same duties as those of an RN. Taking vital signs and descriptions of symptoms from patients, and making preliminary diagnoses, as well as filing paperwork and working with billing and coding specialists to make sure the proper money changes hands, are all part of a regular nursing rotation. However, a CNS also has other duties, such as:

  • Coaching other nurses, especially new hires, to help them improve their practices and integrate well into the culture of the facility. By acting as both a role model and a mentor, a CNS can help new nurses provide better care to patients.
  • Research and evaluate the practices and organizational habits at the facility, and work to improve or streamline them to the benefit of the patients and the workers. This may involve mediating conflict or promoting collaboration between departments or individuals, or simply implementing new practices to save time and resources and provide better care.
  • Managing patients’ relationship to the facility and navigating difficult decisions or transitions gracefully.

How Much Money Can Clinical Nursing Specialists Make?

The primary factors that influence a nurse’s earnings are level of education, years of experience in a specialty, and location. Some regions of the U.S., especially the west coast, offer substantially higher average salaries for nurses in general.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary of registered nurses as $69,110. Unfortunately, The BLS doesn’t break their statistics for nurses down any further than that, so the mean salary for a CNS can only be inferred. The advanced degree requirements and combination of care providing and organizational improvement skills a CNS has should make him or her a great hire at any medical facility, and they’ll likely earn an above average salary for the same reasons.

The Best Online Nurse Practitioners Degrees

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who provides primary and specialty care to patients. A nurse practitioner is responsible for administering both nursing and wider healthcare services; and, they are licensed to prescribe medications. Becoming a nurse practitioner requires the completion of a master's degree program. Below are the most popular colleges offering online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees.

Kaplan University MSN: Nurse Practitioners
RN to MSN
MSN: Nurse Administration
MSN: Nurse Education
MSN: Nurse Informatics
Kaplan University - The Kaplan University MSN for Nurse Practitioners and RN to MSN programs offers students the opportunity to explore nursing methods in a dynamic healthcare environment. Courses include Advanced Nursing Roles, Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing, and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in a Diverse Community. MSN specializations are offered in nurse administration, nurse education, and nurse informatics.
Simmons College MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
RN to MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
Simmons College - For students who want to advance their careers and quickly accomplish life goals, Simmons College offers two degrees to help students become nurse practitioners. The first allows students to specialize as Family Nurse Practitioner while the second program is an accelerated option for registered nurses interested in family nurse practice. Both degrees are accredited and through online courses, they can be accomplished in two years.
Bradley University MSN to DNP: Nursing Leadership
Bradley University - Bradley University confers an MSN to DNP in Nurse Leadership degree that allows for customization in non-nursing specialties, including disaster management, accouting, finance, organizational behavior, and more. Graduates of this program typically enter careers as nurse educators, nurse executives, health case managers, or managed care consultants, to name a few.
Walden University Doctor of Nursing Practice
RN to MSN: Adult Gerontology NP
RN to MSN: Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP
Walden University - The Walden University Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program offers study in the advanced methods of practicing nursing throughout the healthcare industry. Registered nurses with bachelors in nursing are able to obtain their diploma in an accelerated format. Students can also specialize in various aspects of nursing, including Adult Gerontology, Adult Gerontology Acute Care, and Nurse Leadership.
Georgetown University MSN: Midwifery and Women's Health
Georgetown University - Graduates of the Georgetown University online MS of Nursing in Midwifery and Women's Health will have more than just a degree to their name upon completion. Students will have the skill and knowledge to help advance their profession, and medicine as a whole, while serving as sponsors of the well-being and overall health of each of their patients.
Grand Canyon University MSN: Nurse Leadership
MSN/MBA: Nurse Leadership
Grand Canyon University - The Grand Canyon University College of Nursing and Health Sciences provides students with a variety of master's programs tailored to meet the students specific interests. Specializations include Education, Leadership in Health Care Systems (also available as an MBA).

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