Quote from 4nrn
All of this information is great. I am currently in an FNP program to graduate in 2011 and recently heard of a possible requirement in 2015 that NP's will have to have a doctorate to practice. Now Im wondering, if this really happens, could I switch from practicing as an NP to a CNS if I decide I don't want to go back to school at that time? Any info that anyone has would be greatly appreciated!
Be aware that the DNP degree as a requirement for NP practice by 2015 is at the proposal stage at this point. Although it appears that this movement is headed towards becoming a mandatory requirement, master's prepared NP's will be grandfathered once the DNP requirement becomes a reality.
There are MSN nurses with NP preparation who work in the role of a CNS. However, these are only possible in states where there are no clear-cut requirement for a nurse to function as a CNS (such as the need to have formal training as a CNS as well as CNS certification). Be aware of your own state's regulations regarding this prior to setting your hopes on the idea that you can change between the two roles easily.
Actually, my state is a prime example of the scenario llg pointed out. The CNS role has no title protection in this state, hence, there are no specific state regulations as far as who can be called a CNS. However, most hospitals here recognize the benefit of having a master's prepared nurse who is able to function in the CNS role. Because of that, there are numerous job openings for CNS' in many of our hospitals. Unfortunately, the CNS programs have dwindled out because of the popularity of the NP role so that many hospitals are willing to hire any master's prepared nurse for their CNS vacancies even those who are trained as NP's.
Lastly, I would honestly be hesitant to recommend the CNL role to anyone. The role is quite new and I have yet to see a CNL job posting in any of the hospitals around here although there is one such program in one of our state universities. You should also remember that the CNL is not considered an advanced practice nurse role and that to me, transitioning from an NP to a CNL is somewhat of a step down professionally since the role is not considered advanced practice.