Clinical Nurse specialist???

  1. hello all,

    I am interested in going back to school for my MSN and was thinking about being a clinical nurse specialist. Does anyone know a little about this area of nursing. What is it like? How difficult is the program and the actual job? What are your responsibilities as a CNS in the hospital? I appreciate the help, thanks!!!:heartbeat
  2. Visit Lee2584 profile page

    About Lee2584

    Joined: Aug '07; Posts: 10


  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hi Lee....the CNS is a role of many functions - lol! Much of it depends on your state's practice act. I am an adult health CNS in IL and my role mirrors that an NP. I see pts, evaluate, dx, treat and prescribe meds. However, other roles include:

    nurse educator
    nurse change agent - faciliting changes in process
    expert at the bedside - serving as a mentor and/or role model for staff nurses

    llg will be along soon and she is also a CNS with a very different role than mine. A CNS does give you many opportunities based on your state's nurse practice act. What type of role do you want? More the APN? Or educator? Or...something else? It is helpful to determine what you want to do with your MSN prior to getting into it.

    Good luck...
  4. by   llg
    As TraumaRUS has said, the CNS role is somewhat of a "catch all" role -- and varies greatly from state-to-state and from one particular job to another. In some jobs, the CNS functions very much like a Nurse Practitioner -- but other CNS's do none of the primary care functions such as medical diagnosis, prescribe meds, order tests, etc. Some CNS's work mainly in staff development. Others focus more on the establishment of policies and protocols for staff nurses to follow. Others do a lot of research. Some manage particular clinical projects or programs. etc. etc. etc.

    If you do a search of this site, you will find other threads related to the CNS role that can give you some ideas as to what this role can include. Then, you will have to do some research into your local educational programs and the local types of jobs available for CNS's in your region.

    Good luck to you!
  5. by   YellowBoneRN
    Can CNS write prescriptions? I thouhgt a CNS did not have prescriptive abilities. Thanks.
  6. by   ghillbert
    Depends what state you are in and the applicable laws. In some states CNS come under the same umbrella of "advanced practice nurse" that NPs do and have the same prescriptive authority.
  7. by   YellowBoneRN
    Quote from ghillbert
    Depends what state you are in and the applicable laws. In some states CNS come under the same umbrella of "advanced practice nurse" that NPs do and have the same prescriptive authority.

    Are you currently iin NP school? Which school are you in? I have applied to oever 40 school. Heard back from one already that I got in? Do most schools really wait until after their deadline to let you know or is that what they want you to think?
  8. by   ghillbert
    Yes, I'm in the ACNP program at Pitt. I found out fairly immediately that I was accepted, not sure about other programs.
  9. by   Whispera
    About writing prescriptions....I'm a CNS in Indiana. In order to write prescriptions, I had to be licensed as a CNS by the state, had to be certified, had to have a collaborative agreement with a doctor, had to have official permission by the state, and to prescribed controlled substances had to have a DEA license. It was pretty complicated, and took me quite awhile to get information and get it all organized. Most agencies I called didn't even know what a CNS is!
  10. by   traumaRUs
    LOL - In IL - it is much the same process. I was incredibly lucky though that my first job was with a large practice that has a credentialling clerk - she did everything!

    I recently took a second job and had to do the credentialling for a hospital on my own - ugh! Lots of footwork.
  11. by   rainbow11
    Hi all,
    I have a BSN degree, RN license, but I don't have much of clinical experiences. My situation is very complicated (since I'm not neither a citizen nor a resident). Recently I started to think that may be I should go back to school, but I'm not sure about the difference between Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Specialist programs (other than looks like NP program is verryy looong). Can anyone explain the difference? Also, does anyone know any short MSN program in IL? Someone told me that CS work involves indirect patient care. Does it mean NP has to do with direct patient care? What exactly direct and indirect patient care mean? Thank you very much.
  12. by   traumaRUs
    I live in IL and per our nurse practice act, the CNS, NP, CNM (cert nurse midwife) and CRNA (cert reg nurse anesthetist) all have the same nurse practice act. There is no "short" MSN as far as I know in IL. Am unsure what you are asking?

    As to the CNS, yes, we do (sometimes) provide direct care and other times, we make policies, are involved in staff development, management, etc., which are indirect care.

    An NP usually provides direct patient care.
  13. by   rainbow11
    Thank you traumaRUs. I was leaning more toward CNS Medical-Surgical or FNP. I like medical-surgical field, but I'd rather provide direct patient care than sit in the office & do management work etc... I have to make up my mind soon.
  14. by   Whispera
    When I got my MSN, the program (Indiana, Valparaiso University) was set up like this:

    With a MSN, you were a CNS, with a specialization in whatever field you chose


    to become a NP (family practice variety) you added 10 credit hours on at the end, after MSN graduation.