CNS or RN degree? - Advice needed!

  1. 1 Hello--I am a pre-nursing student faced with a tough decision and I would like some input from experienced nurses before I make the decision. I can apply to either ADN program to be an RN or to direct entry MSN program to be a CNS. I like the idea of becoming a specialized nurse as a CNS but I am somewhat unsure about the job market of CNSs compared to RNs. I would imagine it would be much easier to get a job as an RN than a CNS? Also, as someone who has not been a nurse, what is it like to complete a 3 year program and work as a CNS along with RNs with years of experience? Seems like you might need lots of experience before you become a specialist, but these direct entry degrees says in 3 years I'll be a CNS. I would appreciate if anyone can provide some real experience on this before I make the daunting decision. Thank you.
  2. Visit  Newbie7 profile page

    About Newbie7

    Joined Aug '08; Posts: 11; Likes: 2.

    22 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    0
    Well, I'm an adult health CNS (since 2006) and a nurse since 1992. A CNS by definition is an expert in a certain specialty or population base. How does the school meet this goal?
  4. Visit  caliotter3 profile page
    0
    I am not really up on this situation. I always thought that part of the process of obtaining the CNS designation included X amount of paid experience to accompany the education and test requirements. I know that there are direct entry MSN programs that grant the degree and I believe that coming out of such a program would not provide much of an edge in the job market if one has no experience to market. JMT
  5. Visit  Newbie7 profile page
    0
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Well, I'm an adult health CNS (since 2006) and a nurse since 1992. A CNS by definition is an expert in a certain specialty or population base. How does the school meet this goal?
    This program is for those who have degrees in non-nursing areas and first year you study to be an RN and two years after you study CNS areas. I am considering Psych/Mental health NP program too (gain alternative program for those who have no nursing experience but with graduate degrees). My biggest concern is whether I could land a job readily after a degree with relatively little experience. I would imagine hospitals would rather hire less specialized RNs with less pay than specialized nurses. I would appreciate any information you may be able to provide. Thanks.
  6. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    0
    Hopefully there will be some folks come along that have done this type of program. My concern, in this economy is that nurses of all levels are having a difficult times finding jobs. What is the job outlook in your area? Or are you free to move?
  7. Visit  Newbie7 profile page
    0
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Hopefully there will be some folks come along that have done this type of program. My concern, in this economy is that nurses of all levels are having a difficult times finding jobs. What is the job outlook in your area? Or are you free to move?
    That is my main concern too. I am in Austin, texas and I am not willing to move. Getting an advanced degree like CNS and NP would limit my employabilities, wouldn't it? I just did a search in a local newspaper. A lot of jobs came up under RNs but only one under NP. I guess I could work as an RN even with an NP licensure?
  8. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    1
    There are several discussion threads here about APNs working as RNs after they get licensed as an APN:

    http://allnurses.com/nurse-practitio...bs-417071.html

    Is a CNS in TX an advanced practice nurse? By that, I mean, do they see pts, treat pts, write scripts, like a NP or are they a "change agent" or educator or work in some other non-clinical way?

    That might affect your job opportunities too.
    Newbie7 likes this.
  9. Visit  Newbie7 profile page
    1
    Many thanks traumaRUs. I read your blog and your life story is very inspiring. I feel more certain about what I should do now. Thanks again.
    traumaRUs likes this.
  10. Visit  Whispera profile page
    3
    i'm a psych cns. i wouldn't have dreamed of practicing as a cns without having a few years of nursing under my belt. i just didn't know anywhere near enough about the real side of the work to be competent in doing it.

    there are oodles more rns than cnss. in general hospitals where i've worked, there would be 0-1 cns per specialty area and rns filled all the other jobs. in psych hospitals there were no cnss and a few general nps who did historys and physicals and monitored medical treatment. in private practice, with a doctor, you might be the only cns or np with him or her while there would be a few rns and maybe a few other staff members. lots of places don't have cnss or nps at all. you could call places near you to see if they have people in those jobs or not.

    also, while you might get a cns through your education, to get the ability to bill for your services (or to have your facility bill for your work, to medicare and other insurances), you often have to be certified as a cns, and that doesn't happen without work experience, so doing the work your degree would qualify you for might not be possible.

    on the other hand, if you are a cns, you surely can work as an rn, but, you will be held to the standards of a cns, which are higher. it's not necessarily a legally safe position to be in.

    i think you'd do well to get an rn, work awhile, and then go for the advanced degree if you decide you want it, maybe in an rn-msn program.

    finally, being a psych cns can be very similar to being a psych np. it all depends on where you work. i don't see an advantage of one over the other.
    Last edit by Whispera on Oct 2, '09
    futurernjap, traumaRUs, and Newbie7 like this.
  11. Visit  Newbie7 profile page
    0
    Quote from whispera
    i'm a psych cns. i wouldn't have dreamed of practicing as a cns without having a few years of nursing under my belt. i just didn't know anywhere near enough about the real side of the work to be competent in doing it.

    there are oodles more rns than cnss. where general where i've worked, there would be 0-1 cns per specialty area and rns filled all the other jobs. in psych hospitals there were no cnss and a few general nps who did historys and physicals and monitored medical treatment. in private practice, with a doctor, you might be the only cns or np with him or her while there would be a few rns and maybe a few other staff members. lots of places don't have cnss or nps at all. you could call places near you to see if they have people in those jobs or not.

    also, while you might get a cns through your education, to get the ability to bill for your services (or to have your facility bill for your work, to medicare and other insurances), you often have to be certified as a cns, and that doesn't happen without work experience, so doing the work your degree would qualify you for might not be possible.

    on the other hand, if you are a cns, you surely can work as an rn, but, you will be held to the standards of a cns, which are higher. it's not necessarily a legally safe position to be in.

    i think you'd do well to get an rn, work awhile, and then go for the advanced degree if you decide you want it, maybe in an rn-msn program.

    finally, being a psych cns can be very similar to being a psych np. it all depends on where you work. i don't see an advantage of one over the other.
    thanks whispera. your post is very informative.
  12. Visit  Whispera profile page
    0
    There's a new television show on where there's a master's degree prepared nurse (who has no experience) working with the experienced. without a master's degree, nurses. I have to chuckle when I see her worrying that she doesn't know things, and falling apart over things the other nurses can handle easily. I can't remember the name of the show, but I think the situation fits in with what you're asking about. It just takes time to know how to do things!
  13. Visit  NICU_babyRN profile page
    0
    Is it a CNS or a CNL degree? There is a Clinical Nurse LEADER program out there too. If you have no experience as an RN, even WITH a CNS degree one would probably have a tough time getting a position as a CNS.
  14. Visit  elkpark profile page
    1
    Quote from traumaRUs
    Is a CNS in TX an advanced practice nurse? By that, I mean, do they see pts, treat pts, write scripts, like a NP or are they a "change agent" or educator or work in some other non-clinical way?

    That might affect your job opportunities too.
    trauma, I fully realize you didn't mean anything derogatory but, as an old-school CNS, I feel the need to point out that a lot of us feel that the CNS role is the true advanced practice nursing role, and the NP role is more "medicine lite." I'm always bothered by statements that suggest that "advanced practice" equals "writing scrips." As a psych CNS, I have "seen" and "treated" clients for years, without writing scrips. I've never had prescriptive authority (although I've practiced in states where I could have gotten it), don't want it, and wouldn't take it if you tried to give it to me -- and I assure you my direct care, hands-on clinical practice is definitely "advanced," by the standards and definitions of the larger nursing community. Lots of CNSs work in direct client care; remember, the "C" in CNS stands for "clinical" -- we are clinical experts in our specialty.

    I'm aware that there is a movement in some areas to redefine "advanced practice nursing" as only including nurses with prescriptive authority, and I'm v. offended by that. I'm also unhappy, personally, about the recent and increasing blurring of the CNS and NP roles/practices, and think that is a significant loss for nursing. I don't mean to suggest that the CNS role is better or more important that the other advanced practice roles -- I just hate to see us get "demoted," even if it's only in a passing comment, and I try to always speak up.
    nopainNurse likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and find your dream job.

Top
close
close