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Clinical Nurse Specialist - What they do and how to become a CNS?

Training Required to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialist is an Advanced-practice nursing position. This requires a minimum of a Master of Science in Nursing degree as well as completing the required state licensing examinations. The nurse will have a chosen area of clinical expertise. The areas of expertise may be segregated by:

  • Population: pediatrics, geriatrics, etc.
  • Setting: critical care or long term care
  • Disease: cancer, heart disease, etc.
  • Type of care: mental health, palliative care, etc.
  • Type of health problem: stress,wounds, etc.
Clinical Nurse Specialists and all nurses are required to take Continuing Education classes to insure their knowledge of current and new practices, procedures and technologies.

What do Clinical Nurse Specialists do?

CNS' are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients. Clinical Nurse Specialists act as expert consultants. They only deal with patients within their field of expertise and work directly with physicians and nursing staff to improve health care processes and procedures.

A Clinical Nurse Specialist begins their career as a Registered Nurse. Through years of specialized training both on the job and through education courses, their knowledge grows to that of a field expert and their position and responsibilities grow too. In 2011, an average salary for a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the US was $112,000.

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