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.

Walden University RN to MSN: Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP
RN to MSN: Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP
RN to MSN: Psychiatric Mental Health 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.
South University MSN: Adult-Gerontology NP
RN to MSN: Family NP
RN to MSN: Nurse Education
South University - The South University Master of Science in Nursing program features a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization designed for Registered Nurses that wish to advance their skills, manage their patients care, and make critical decisions using evidence-based information. The program is conveniently offered online. For RNs looking to make a career jump, South University also offers an accelerated RN to MSN program with specialized tracks in adult health and nurse education.
Purdue University MSN
MSN: Nurse Administration
MSN: Nurse Education
MSN: Nurse Informatics
Purdue University - The Purdue University MSN and BSN 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.
Liberty University DNP
Liberty University - The Doctor of Nursing Practice specialization at the Liberty University is designed around a conceptual and clinical framework. Graduates learn advanced nursing methodologies, including clinical practice, teaching, research, and scholarship. The degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.
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.
Georgetown University MSN: Midwifery and Women's Health
MS: Family Nursing Practice
MS: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nursing Practice
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.
Catholic University of America Doctor of Nursing Practice
Catholic University of America - At the Catholic University of America, students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program will participate in an online format that confers an advanced degree in the management of healthcare. Graduates leave CUA with the education and confidence to tackle the most pressing medical management challenges.
Grand Canyon University MSN: Nursing Education
MSN in Nursing Leadership
MSN/MBA in Leadership
MSN in Nurse Informatics
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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