Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Careers

Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist by earning a MSN degree.

Clinical Nurse Specialists are graduate prepared and licensed by the state as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. They make many contributions to the healthcare system here in the United States.

CNSs are trained to focus on and improve the “three spheres of influence”: the patient, the nursing personnel, and the healthcare system. The ultimate goal of influencing the three “spheres” is to continuously improve and refine patient outcomes and nursing care.

CNSs are clinical experts in the delivery of evidence-based nursing interventions. They diagnose and treat illness, disease, injuries, and/or disabilities in their area of specialty. They develop, influence, and evaluate programs of care for specific populations. Nursing staffs look to CNSs as mentors for guidance in their practice. They educate nurses and other healthcare professionals in how to solve patient care problems. And they often design and implement improvements in the healthcare delivery system.

CNS Specialty Tracks

Similar to Nurse Practitioner programs, Clinical Nurse Specialist graduate programs offer many areas of specialty and sub-specialty. Specialization can be based on a particular patient population such as neonates, children, adults, seniors, women, etc. They can be based on settings such as emergency room care, critical care, or long-term care. As a CNS student, one can specialize in a particular disease such as diabetes, oncology, or cardiovascular. Some specialties are based on the type of care such as psychiatric or rehabilitation care. Still others are based on the type of problem like wounds, pain, stress, etc.