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Clinical Nurse Specialists CNS are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who have completed a Masters or Doctoral degrees program in a specialized area of practice. This is an exciting time to pursue this area as the demand for Advanced Practice Nurses is expected to increase by 31% in the next several years. Overall, almost 90% of Clinical Nurse Specialists reported being satisfied with their career choice and work.

Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States number over 70,000 and they are practicing in health care and delivery systems across the board, including nursing homes, prisons, private practice, hospitals, clinics and corporate settings. Clinical Nurse Specialists sometimes work in administrative and supervisory roles, in addition to providing patient care.

The CNS practice includes diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and/or disabilities in the field of their expertise. This is in addition to conventional nursing duties focusing on helping to prevent and resolve illness. They may provide expert consultation for nursing staff, provide direct patient care and take an active role in improving all aspects of healthcare delivery. Clinical Nurse Specialists are often found in management positions and working on teams to develop policies and procedures.

Responsibilities of the Clinical Nurse Specialist may include:

  • Use advanced clinical skills to assess, evaluate, diagnose and treat patients.
  • Within a specified clinical area, provide care for patients with complex health needs.
  • Maintain, develop and implement standards of nursing practice.
  • Be an expert consultant and/or resource person for other members of the team, patient and families.
  • Assist patients and other healthcare providers to promote and/or achieve optimal health.
  • Seek consults and make referrals as needed.

CNSs assess, plan, provide and evaluate specialized nursing care of patients. Clinical Nurse Specialists are a role model for professional behavior and clinical competence and work to advance the quality and scope of nursing through clinical practice, research, education, consultation and administrative roles in their respective area of expertise. CNS is known to function as expert practitioner, consultant, researcher, educator and clinical leader to patients and staff.

Requirements may include:

Develop and perform patient assessment and plan of care.

Perform patient assessment and triage.

Effective communication skills, oral and written.

Ability to conduct research, document research, evaluate and make recommendations.

Identify and implement educational programs for staff as required.

Consult with physicians, nurses and other providers in order to meet the care needs of the patient.

Knowledge of the principles, objective and practices, as well as issues and developments, in the specialty field of nursing as well as in general.

Knowledge of the principles and processes necessary to provide customer and personal services, including needs assessment, meeting quality standards and evaluating customer satisfaction.

Provide direct consultation and evaluation to patients.

Knowledge of advanced clinical practice education, research, consultation and administration.

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