Becomina a CNS?

Specialties CNS


  • Specializes in ICU, M/S,Nurse Supervisor, CNS.

Hi everyone. I just wanted to see if anyone out there may have some insight or advice on a dilemma I am having. I will be finishing up a dual masters in nursing and health administration in the next few months. The MSN has a focus on education. However, I now want to be a CNS. Has anyone here ever gone from an MSN in education to a CNS? Does anyone have any ideas of how much additional training/education would be necessary? I've looked into a couple of programs, but none of them addressed the situation of already having a MSN. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

88 Articles; 21,246 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Hi - I can answer that hopefully or at least give one perspective. I completed my MSN (leadership and management) in 2005, then realized I wanted to be an APN so I went back for a post-MSN adult health CNS. I did this in two semesters since the requirement per ANCC is to have separate classes in: adv pathophy, adv assessment and adv pharm and then the appropriate number of clinical hours. It took two semesters but the hardest part was the clinical component. I worked at a hospital at the time and worked 3 12's so I used my PTO (all of it too - lol) and did it as quickly as I could.

In two weeks, I start the Peds CNS but this time I work a full time APN position already so I'm using PTO and planning to do at least 60 hours of clinical time for my 40 hours of PTO. I am also doing some after hours clinical time too.

Its definitely doable just very time consuming. Good luck. Look for the post- MSN certificate programs.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

It depends on a few things:

1. Where you live -- what the state requriements are for the use of the CNS title, etc.

2. What exact type of work do you want to do? If you don't want to practice outside the basic scope of practice for registered nurses (i.e. don't want to do primary care, write perscriptions, etc.) ... you might well be able to find a job that does MOST of the other CNS role functions without having to get any additional education. That's how I've spent my whole career. I have done staff development, done patient education, research, managed specific programs, been in charge of policy development, monitored practice, etc. -- just about everything BUT medical diagnosis and treatment. And I have done it all WITHOUT any special licensure from the state that would be required for medical diagnosis and treatment functions.

Hospitals often have jobs (that may or may not be called "CNS jobs") that include those types of advanced practice functions that do not require special licensure as a CNS. However, if you really want that primary care role, nurse practitioner role, physician-extender role ... or whatever you want to call it ... then you will need to get more education to meet whatever requirements are set up by your particular state Board of Nursing (and they vary from state to state.)

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I don't know the answer to this, there a CNS in Education? If there is, that might be the way for you to go. Check out the ANCC website...


370 Posts

Specializes in ICU, M/S,Nurse Supervisor, CNS.

Thank you all for your input. I can definitely do two semesters or even three, but I just didn't want to have to go back to school for more than say 18 months or so. I want to work in critical care as a CNS, though. My employer does have a position called nurse clinician that functions as a CNS with the stipulation that they obtain the CNS within a certain period of time. Those positions are more or less "created" though, so you have to know someone who can and will accomodate that extra person on their staff. My manager was telling me that she had mentioned my upcoming graduation to our VP of nursing and she had mentioned maybe hiring me into a CNS position at this hospital (I'm currently a nursing supervisor here), but she didn't know that I'm not graduating with my CNS. I think I'm going to talk to her about the potential of a nurse clinician role while I go back to school again. :D. Maybe if I can talk a good enough game, I can get that position.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

88 Articles; 21,246 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Good luck and let us know what happens.


18 Posts

Hi, everyone!

I am a new member to, but I have been perusing as a guest for several years. To Whispera and lovelylpn, there is a CNS in Nursing Education offered through Michigan State University. It also is offered completely online except the clinical component.

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