How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Being a nurse is not limited only to providing nursing care to patients. There are many areas of specialization in the nursing profession. A clinical nurse specialist is a registered nurse who takes training and education to become eligible in providing nursing care, doing research, educating patients, staff, and community, and playing managerial roles.

They are the clinical specialist who specializes in a variety of topics such as diabetes, cancer treatment, treating patients of different ages and gender, types of settings like emergency and critical care units, common health problems associated with wounds, stress, pain, and types of care. Their job also includes supervising, certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

What are Clinical Nurse Specialists?

Clinical nurse specialists match the needs and requirements of the modern health care industry. They research and combine the result to increase the efficiency of nursing care for patients, staff, and the health care system in general. They are the advanced nurse practitioner who holds a master’s or doctorate degree.

Since CNSs are more qualified than traditional nurses are, they supervise them and help in improving the system that is beneficial for everyone associated with the healthcare setting. They also suggest and implement measures to save costs on treatment and to reduce medical complications.

Duties of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The duties of CNSs are a few notches higher than other nursing jobs. The education they take helps them to diagnose and treat patients. The responsibilities they hold while working in the healthcare industry is much more than patients’ treatments.

They supervise and guide nurses in their job, communicate with patients and their families, check vital signs, prepare the chart for the day, give medications, and completes the work necessary before a patient is taken to the operation theater.

Further, they have to analyze and come up with alternative methods that could help the patients in saving treatment costs. Making wise decisions and implementing effective changes are also part of their job.

Educational Programs

The first step towards the clinical nurse specialist career is to have a bachelor’s degree in science. After that, they have to enroll in a training program that can fetch them a license for employment as a registered nurse. After working a minimum of one year as an RN, they can apply for a clinical nurse specialist program picking up their interest in the specialization.

As a graduate of the specialized training programs, they are eligible to educate patients on prevention and aftercare. Also, they can instruct staff and offer classes to educate on topics of their specialization.

Besides teaching, CNSs are also qualified for administration and management work. They can manage a team of nurses and monitor their activities, thereby ensuring proper and quality nursing care to patients. The management may even seek their expertise in finance-related issues such as budgeting, cost-cutting, and inventory control.

Further, CNSs are trained to research medicine as well. They can choose any one disease and research on the medication necessary for its treatment. In the research category, they will be working in a lab setting conversing with patients and other researchers, collecting and compiling treatment data, and generating reports.

Job Opportunities

Clinical nurse specialists provide all the helping hand to physicians for treating patients. Working in their area of specialization, they can even diagnose and treat illnesses and disabilities. They are in direct contact with patients and supervise nurses’ activities. With their education and experience, they can bring a significant improvement in the working environment and system of health care settings.

Due to lots of modern techniques and new inventions involved in the medical world, there is a need for specialists who can take care of patients, staff, and help the employer in bringing quality nursing care. Equally important is to ensure inventory control and overall management of the system. Clinical nurse specialist perfectly fits these requirements. They can play multiple roles for the employers, and as such, their demand is in the medical industry is growing.

However, job opportunities are not exempted from the competitions, especially if one is looking for a position where there is no workload and pressure such as physician’s offices.


This may not be the highest salary job, but still, the CNS draws a very decent salary as compared to CNAs. Any person who is entering in the position can earn around $89,000 per annum. However, other factors, like the area of expertise, geographical location, and experience, will have a major effect on the salary figure.

Being a clinical nurse specialist will help you in getting a higher salary than registered nurses. You can supervise other nurses, educate staff, and implement changes in the setting, and improve the management in crucial decisions relating to finance.