A Clinical Nurse Specialist or CNS is an Advance Practice Nurse (APN) that specializes in a certain nursing field of care. These nurses hold a master’s degree or a PhD in their chosen area. Unlike other APNs who practice on a broader level, Clinical Nurse Specialists focus on only one or two area of care.
The CNSs can choose to become experts in the Medical, Diagnostic and Clinical field. They can also become specialists in the Operating Room, Delivery Room and Ambulatory Units.
Roles Clinical Nurse Specialist
The Clinical Nurse Specialists has several basic roles. They are as follows.
· Educator - Because of the length of time that these nurses spent studying and improving on their craft, they are usually called to be nurse educators. They provide patient education to clients who have little information regarding their conditions. At the same time they also act as educators to regular RNs and other non-nursing members of the hospital staff. These nurses may also be called to act as lecturers in colleges and other educational institutions.
· Clinical Practice – Clinical Nurse Specialists are known for the fact that they are experts in a chosen nursing field. The problem with being a CNS is that they are limited to one specialty, while Nurse Practitioners (who are also APNs) practice on a broader field. Nonetheless, CNSs make up for this deficiency by being unrivaled experts in their chosen area.
· Management – Because of the fact that CNSs have furthered their nursing education by getting a master’s degree, they are now given heightened roles. Most of the time they are given the role of Nurse Manager. These nurses handle several RNs and other non-nursing individuals on a daily basis. They are responsible for scheduling and task delegation.
· Research and Consulting - as experts in a certain field. Clinical Care Nurse Specialists are often called on to do case research. They may perform the task by themselves or they can work as part of a clinical team. These nurses are also called to consult on certain cases from time to time.
Requirements to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist
In order to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist, it is important to first obtain a Nursing Education and an RN license. The license should correspond to your country of practice. After that, nurses are required to take a Master’s Degree or a PhD in the Nursing profession in general or in a specific field. Several years of experience in a specific nursing field are also required before a nurse can become a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Work Opportunities for a Clinical Nurse Specialist
There are a lot of work opportunities for Clinical Nurse Specialist here and abroad. Because they are considered experts in their chosen field, they are often called on as consultants, managers and educators.
LOCALLY – Clinical Nurse Specialists in the Philippines have the option of continuing to work in a hospital or branch out to education. If they remain working in a hospital setting, they are given the opportunity to be nurse managers and administrators. They may also be called as consultants in certain cases. The CNSs that choose to branch out to education have the option of becoming department heads and even College Deans.
ABROAD – There are a lot of opportunities for Clinical Nurse Specialists Abroad. In the US, these nurses have the option of opening their own nursing practice. Although, if the chance to practice individually is what the nurse is looking for. He/she should also consider being a Nurse Practitioner.
Aside from the varied work opportunities, CNSs also have the privilege of enjoying a bigger salary compared to regular RNs.