Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

A Clinical Nurse Specialist is an Advanced Practice Nurse with a high degree of knowledge, skill, and competence in a specialized area of nursing, and requires a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Nursing. CNS may practice in a wide variety of settings such as; hospitals, community health settings, educational institutions, long term care facilities, mental health settings, occupational health, and private practices. CNS use their expertise as a clinical expert, educator, consultant, and researcher in NPs utilize advanced practice skills to:

  • Take health histories and perform physical exams;
  • Assess, treat, and evaluate acute and chronic illnesses;
  • Prescribe and manage medications;
  • Use education and order to influence outcomes by increasing the quality and cost-effectiveness of outcomes for patients, nurses, and organizations
  • counseling to promote healthy behaviors
  • Provide health screening and disease prevention services
  • Identify needs of patients that require a referral for more specialized care

Specialty areas can be identified by:

  • Population (e.g., adults, geriatrics, women, etc)
  • Setting (e.g., critical care, emergency room, etc)
  • Disease or medical specialty (e.g., diabetes, oncology, etc)
  • Type of care (e.g., rehabilitation, psychiatric-mental health, etc)
  • Type of problem (e.g., pain, wounds, and eating disorders)