October 27, 2015

CNS - Clinical Nurse Specialist Jobs

CNS - Clinical Nurse Specialist Jobs

What Does A Clinical Nurse Specialist Do?

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is one of four types of advanced practice nurses. These registered nurses (RNs) have advanced education and clinical experience and are certified in their practice area. They number around 72,000, according to . Since the scope of their practice includes diagnosing and treating health conditions, their importance has increased to help fill a physician shortage associated with the Affordable Care Act and a graying U.S. population. A CNS specializes in one of five areas of clinical expertise (with examples): population (geriatrics), setting (emergency room), disease or subspecialty (oncology), type of care (rehabilitation), and type of health problem (pain). The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists says these nurses spend 25 percent of their time in direct patient care and 20 percent consulting with others.

What Are The Job Roles For An CNS?

A CNS has five important roles, according to DiscoverNursing :

  • Conducting a clinical practice
  • Educating
  • Working with research
  • Consulting
  • Managing resources and developing policies

Job Characteristics

  • Work is multifaceted.
  • Responsibilities usually include significant patient contact.
  • The nature of the job is managerial.

What Education & Certification Is Needed For A CNS?

The first priority for someone interested in becoming a CNS is earning an RN credential. This requires completing a two- or four-degree nursing degree or a hospital nursing program. To be eligible for state licensing, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), allNursingSchools reports. While a majority of nurses with the CNS designation have completed master’s degrees, some elect to pursue a doctorate in nursing. Students in MSN programs choose a clinical nurse specialization or a concentration in an area of clinical expertise such as gerontology.

What Are The Degree Requirements For A CNS?

The minimum educational credential for a CNS candidate is a master’s degree in nursing. Bridge programs are available for nurses who became an RN without first earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Among top nursing programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education are:

What Certification Is Needed For A CNS?

Nurses are eligible to take the CNS exam if they have an MSN and a year of relevant clinical experience. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the organization that awards the CNS designation. Applicants can apply for a certification in a number of specialties like Pediatric CNS or Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health CNS. Once achieved, certification must be renewed every five years.

What Are the CEU Requirements As A CNS?

ANCC certification renewal requires a specified number of clinical hours and continuing education units. In addition, state continuing education requirements vary and are available in our continuing education guide. Most professional organizations offer this type of education either free or at reduced rates to members. In a world of constantly changing healthcare regulations, employers typically assist staff members in keeping up to date via continuing education, either through on-site courses or online offerings.

Where Can I Work As A CNS?

  • Hospitals Clinics
  • Prisons
  • Private practice


  • Schools
  • Nursing homes
  • Corporations
  • Clinics

Vonda J. Sines is a freelance writer based in the Washington, DC area. She specializes in health/medical, career, and pet topics and writes extensively about Crohn's disease. Her work has been published at EverydayHealth, Lifescript,, Yahoo! Health, Catholic Digest, Angie's List Health, and on many more sites.

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