A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is a master's prepared, advanced practice nurse whose care focuses on a specific patient population defined either by clinical type or geographical grouping (medical, surgical, diabetic, cardiovascular, etc.), or by the needs of a specific age group (geriatric, neonatal). The CNS role is divided into five dimensions: practitioner, educator, consultant/collaborator, researcher and advocate/role model. The CNS uses all these roles fairly equally. The NP uses all these roles, but there is an emphasis on the Practitioner role.
As clinician, the CNS applies experience and advanced theoretical knowledge to complex patient-care situations and strives to improve patient outcomes. A hallmark of CNS practice is the ability to recognize the need to deviate from the norm or the established rules for the sake of individualizing care. The CNS skills in assesment are used to examine the entire clinical situation, the patient's and family's response to it, and the staff's needs for assistance, coordination, and support in providing needed care.
The role of educator is realized using principles of education using formal and informal teaching methodologies to impart knowledge to others (patient and family educ., staff education, interdisciplinary team educ outside of nursing, and community educ.).
The researcher role includes involvement in research and dissemination of research based information to administration and staff to improve patient care. The CNS may write protocols based on current research. The also perform QA and QI research statistics.
The function of the CNS has traditionally been a staff role, which frees the CNS of administrative responsibilities, but allows them to contribute to quality of patient care and quality of work environment for staff, although, they must manage aspects of their own practices.
Some states authorize CNS practice and protect that title by law. Some states only allow Psych CNS practice, and some states do not authorize CNS practice at all. 21 of 48 states allow prescriptive authority for the CNS if they meet the requirements for that authority set by the BOD.
They also should know how to spell, please fogive my typos.
If you need more info, let me know. I'm currently in a master's program with a focus on Community Health CNS practice.