Master Entry Clinical Nurse vs. Master Entry NP

  1. Hi All - I'm trying to decide between to 2 different master entry programs, one offers a NP after 2.5 yrs and the other offers a Master in clinical nursing. I was wondering if anyone can give me their input on these programs - what would you choose and why? what kinds of jobs are out there for each? Also, how will the DNP impact current NPs? I've also heard that it was harder for new NP graduates from these programs to find jobs in CA, is that true? Many questions I know, but any advice is appreciated!
  2. Visit lizcakes profile page

    About lizcakes

    Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 21


  3. by   SFDRN
    Hi Lizcakes,
    The distinction between the two, as I understand it, is that a Master's prepared Clinical Nurse is on track to work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in hospital, nursing home, or ambulatory settings. The Clinical Nurse Specialist role is one that encompasses five domains: research, teaching, leadership, clinical expertise, and advocacy. In many hospitals the CNS is the nurse specialist who is brought in to implement new best practices at the staff nurse level--so a lot of the job is translating research findings into practice via teaching new techniques or interventions to staff RNs.

    The NP role, as I understand it, is much more linear in fashion. An NP is an expert clinician prepared at the master's level to delivery high quality care within the nursing model. So, you would be doing patient assessments, ordering tests/labs, diagnosing, prescribing and providing follow-up care. NPs work in many settings--outpatient, hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care, physician practices, and retail clinics in drugstores.

    This is how I understand the two roles--hope this helps!
  4. by   sirI
    Hello, lizcakes,

    I think you are talking about the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), right?

    If so, in many states, the CNS and NP have same roles/distinctions. No difference. Both see patients as HCP and have prescription privis.

    (I am an NP and traumaRUs, another administrator here at, is a CNS.) Check out this thread in the Clinical Nurse Specialist forum regarding the CNS:

    As for the DNP and its impact on the APN, please check out this thread found in the Nurse Practitioner forum:

    Regarding for finding jobs in CA, I don't have any information about that.

    Good luck with your decision(s).
  5. by   lizcakes
    sf and siri- Thanks for your input, it is more helpful than you know!
  6. by   sirI
    You are very welcome.
  7. by   arciedee
    I just wanted to add that there are also programs in Clinical Nurse Leadership. So it's important to know which one you are looking at. The CNL is supposed to be an advanced generalist role as opposed to a Clinical Nurse Specialist. There's a table that the AACN put together attempting to explain the differences here:

    I think the right program for you really depends on what really interests you. I chose a CNL program because I didn't feel ready to choose a specialty prior to going through the nursing rotations. I figure I'll go on for a specialty later (either post-masters certificate or DNP depending on what's available at that time), but if I knew which area really appealed to me now I would have chosen a CNS or NP program. In the meantime the MSN gives me a bit more flexibility in my career.

    Good luck in your decision!
  8. by   lizcakes
    One particular program I am applying to says their degree offers "masters-prepared nurse generalists with special leadership skills," so I'm thinking this is a Clinical Nurse Leader rather than a specialist. Is that right to assume?
  9. by   arciedee
    Yes, that would be a CNL program. I found an FAQ on the AACN website explaining the CNL role: