CNS vs. CNL

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    I know that this may be addressed in another thread, but if someone could either answer my question, or direct me to an answer, I would appreciate it.

    I know that a CNL is more of a generalist than a CNS, but what does this really mean? I know that in CNL training, in obtaining your MSN, you still have clinical rotations, and become an "expert" in a field.... but currently I work as an RN in a level III NICU, and would preferably stay with babies, or at the least, pediatrics. I feel that the program offered close to me that offers training to become a CNL is better for me due to the length, and online options, but I am unsure if the degree itself would be better as CNS or a CNL?

    SOOOOO

    My main question is: What in the world is the real difference between a CNS and a CNL?

    Thanks!
    Amanda
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  4. 1
    Go to www.aacn.nche.edu/cnl/CNLgeneric.ppt.
    or the AACN website.
    Generally a CNL is a RN with a Master degree. perform the same role as a bedside nurse but with more emphasis on evidence based practice in the care of patient.
    CNS is a Specialist.
    MedChica likes this.
  5. 0
    Quote from vincejojo
    Go to www.aacn.nche.edu/cnl/CNLgeneric.ppt.
    or the AACN website.
    Generally a CNL is a RN with a Master degree. perform the same role as a bedside nurse but with more emphasis on evidence based practice in the care of patient.
    CNS is a Specialist.
    I'm currently in a CNL program, and there's a little more to it than that. In addition to performing bedside duties, a CNL is responsible for an entire group of patients (a single unit, floor, etc). They look at nursing on the unit from a systems level and determine what changes can be made to improve patient outcomes, using evidence-based criteria for doing so. That may not be how the role is actually implemented everywhere, but that's how it was designed, and that's what we're being taught to do (or rather they're starting to get us thinking about things from a systems-level; I'm still in the pre-licensure component of my program. I just started my first med-surg rotation last week- I'm so excited!).
  6. 0
    My own take on this is that a CNS can also be an advanced practice nurse while a CNL can not.

    However, have you considered NNP?
  7. 0
    CNSs are advanced practice nurses who are experts in a specific clinical specialty (e.g., I'm a child psych CNS). CNLs are Master's-prepared generalists who are not advanced practice nurses.
  8. 0
    Interesting question. I have a master's degree in nursing and I have worked in serveral areas. Does that make me a CNL? I guess I would want to know if the CNL is some sort of designation or certification. What kind of testing is required. Also I am interested in becoming a CNS but not sure in what area and don't know how long you need to have worked in a particular to become a CNS.
  9. 0
    In order to take the CNS exam you have to complete a CNS program. I had an MSN in management and leadership, then did a post-MSN certificate for adult health CNS, then did another post-MSN certificate for peds CNS.
  10. 0
    Quote from jmelvin17
    Interesting question. I have a master's degree in nursing and I have worked in serveral areas. Does that make me a CNL? I guess I would want to know if the CNL is some sort of designation or certification. What kind of testing is required. Also I am interested in becoming a CNS but not sure in what area and don't know how long you need to have worked in a particular to become a CNS.
    There is an exam and national certification for CNLs, but I don't know what the specific requirements are to be eligible. As trauma noted, in order to be eligible for certification as a CNS, you have to have completed an MSN program (or post-Master's certificate) that specifically prepared you as a CNS in your particular specialty.
  11. 0
    As Elkpark mentioned, there is a national certification examination for CNLs. This exam is administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

    To be eligible to sit for the CNL Certification exam, you need to have graduated from a CNL program -- or be teaching in an existing CNL program.
  12. 2
    [QUOTE=BittyBabyRN;4021841]I know that this may be addressed in another thread, but if someone could either answer my question, or direct me to an answer, I would appreciate it.

    I know that a CNL is more of a generalist than a CNS, but what does this really mean? I know that in CNL training, in obtaining your MSN, you still have clinical rotations, and become an "expert" in a field.... but currently I work as an RN in a level III NICU, and would preferably stay with babies, or at the least, pediatrics. I feel that the program offered close to me that offers training to become a CNL is better for me due to the length, and online options, but I am unsure if the degree itself would be better as CNS or a CNL?

    SOOOOO

    My main question is: What in the world is the real difference between a CNS and a CNL?

    Thanks!
    Amanda[/QUOTE
    I am in my last semester of the CNL program. Here is a comparison table from the AACN to explain the difference.
    Clinical Nurse (CNL)
    Shared Role Characteristics
    Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
    The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is prepared at the masterís degree level as a generalist.
    In addition to the competencies delineated in the AACN (1998)
    Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice1, the CNL is prepared with the competencies outlined in the AACN (2003) Working Paper on the Role of the Clinical Nurse Leader2.
    The Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse prepared in a clinical specialty at the masterís, post-masterís or doctoral level as a specialist.
    The CNS, as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), is prepared with the AACN (1996)
    Essentials of Masterís Education for Advanced Practice Nursing3, including the Graduate Nursing and APN Clinical Core. In addition, the CNS is prepared in a specialty curriculum which includes those clinical and didactic learning experiences identified and defined by the specialty nursing organization for the particular area of advanced clinical practice.
    The CNL functions as a generalist providing and managing care at the point of care to patients, individuals, families, and communities.
    Both the CNL and CNS provide care in all types of health care settings, including acute, outpatient, home, school and community.
    The CNS functions as an expert clinician in a particular specialty or subspecialty of nursing practice.,,456
    The CNL is responsible for the management and coordination of comprehensive client care, for individuals and clinical cohorts.
    7
    The CNL and CNS develop a comprehensive and holistic view of patients.
    The CNS is responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating patient-specific and population-based programs of care.
    8,9
    The CNL functions primarily within clinical microsystems which are small
    Both the CNL and CNS manage care
    The CNS functions at both microsystem and system levels, within three spheres of
    guufychica and coupb8222 like this.


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