Nursing: Clinical Nurse Specialist

What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is a nurse who holds a Master’s or doctoral degree in a specialized area of nursing. To be employed, they need licensure and the requirement for that can vary from one state to another. Clinical nurse specialists play a pivotal role in the healthcare system and provide expert services to the patients. In some countries like the United States, there is a shortage of nursing staff and this has led to an increase in demand for clinical nurse specialists.

Clinical Nursing Specialists perform a variety of tasks ranging from diagnosis to devising treatment plans to help patients recover. Also, they train and advise other nurses on things like improving patient care and implementing procedures to ensure smooth running of the health care facility. On a typical schedule, they work 40 hours per week, but most will do overtime in cases of medical emergencies, for which they are compensated.

The job includes research on the patient’s problems and then devising a treatment plan. They will also interact with the patient’s family and give advice on the therapy involved.

They will likewise devise and implement procedures in the healthcare setting that ensure better patient care. The CNS job also plays a big part in diagnosing the patient and monitoring the patient’s condition during treatment and recovery. They will perform duties like collecting patient’s samples for laboratory tests, administering medication, recording vital signs like blood pressure as well as heart rate.

How much do they make?

According to the national statistics, the average salary of clinical nurse ranges between $ 70,000 to $ 110,000 per annum. These nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in subjects like pediatrics, gerontology, cardiology, public health, among others.

The salary of CNS is quite comparable to other professions in the healthcare industry, with almost 50% of employed nurses making over $ 70,000 annually. High demand for specialized workers in the nursing profession also means that individuals get good salaries. The salary figures are of course affected by the factors such as job location, experience and education of the candidate nurse. If you are working from a center metropolitan area, you can expect better salaries than your counterparts working from a sub-urban setting.

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Like in most other professions, EXPERIENCE of the candidate plays an important part in the clinical nurse specialist salary. Individuals with experience of 1-5 years will most likely get lower pay packages than those with 10 or more years of experience in the industry.

What are the qualifications to become one?

If one is interested to enroll for a CNS training program, one needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a graduate level professional degree in nursing. Certificate programs are also offered by many universities, which can last up to 4 years.

A candidate can opt for a master’s degree program or a doctoral in nursing practice. The course includes training on advanced pharmacology, bioethics, adult health, pathophysiology, etc. And upon completion of training, candidates will be required to give certification exam offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).