Career Awareness


Clinical Nurse Specialist

 Daily Tasks
The Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) assists in managing and improving patient care by identifying nursing problems and assisting nursing staff in dealing with specific patient needs. The CNS is in a leadership role and works closely with the nurse manager of the patient care unit to improve nursing practice. The CNS may assess the health of patients by physical examination and taking medical histories. The CNS counsels and educates patients and their families to promote health maintenance and disease prevention. They collaborate in research projects and review research findings for application in the clinical practice. They also may evaluate the service being provided to patients and make recommendations and implement changes to improve nursing care and service on the unit.
The CNS is an expert in a specialized area of clinical practice such as mental health, heart, cancer, pediatrics, medical, surgical, critical care and emergency care. The CNS must have the ability to communicate effectively with a variety of staff and team members in many different settings. Leadership skills are essential as well as the ability to analyze a problem and make appropriate decisions.
 Work Setting
Primarily hospital nursing units.
 Work Hours
Regular business hours.
Master's degree in nursing with a specialty clinical focus.
Current Registered Nurse (RN) license in the state in which they practice. A current Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) license by applicable state requirements. If the state doesn’t have APRN licensure, Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification, in designated specialty by a nationally recognized body deemed acceptable by the State Board of Nursing in the state the CNS practices or a documented waiver deemed acceptable by the Board of Nursing in the state the CNS practices, when there is no Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification examination for the specialty. Must have a current Basic Life Support (BLS) card.
A minimum of five years of successful work experience in the specialty area is preferred. CNS must be certified in the designated specialty or a related area. Advanced clinical knowledge and excellent communication skills are necessary.
 Recommended High School Classes
College prep, business, computer applications, food and nutrition, English composition, second language, health sciences, advanced sciences (biology and chemistry), anatomy/physiology, and psychology