22 / 01 / 20

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialist is the title given to the advanced registered nurses who specialize in a nursing practice within one of several specialty areas. The CRNs integrate their advanced knowledge of disease processes in assessing, diagnosing, and treating patient illnesses, but their role extends beyond providing patient care, their role also includes providing quality and safety in the healthcare system. If you are a natural person that cares for others, have a knack for complex problem solving, the ability to teach others, have effective communication skill and can take on a leadership role, then the clinical nurse specialist role could be the right career for you. One of the most beneficial things about being a clinical nurse specialist is the ability to work in a specialized area of healthcare such as geriatrics, pediatrics and psychiatric nursing.

How to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the U.S

Step One – You need to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
Most Clinical Nurse Specialist degree programs require the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree. Attending a 4-year science nursing school is the preferred route to take. The degree normally includes subjects such as physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and anatomy.

Step Two – Obtain State Licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN)
A nurse that graduated from a nursing program and meets the requirements outlined by the state, must apply and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses exam (NCLEX-RN) to be eligible for American nursing employment.

Step Three – Gain experience
A minimum of 500 supervised clinical hours in the specialty area is the requirement to take the CNS exam. It is beneficial for students to volunteer at hospitals or community health clinics or get an internship as early as possible to get the experience required.

Step Four – Earn a Clinical Nurse Specialist Master’s Degree from an Accredited Program
It normally takes 2 years to complete the Clinical Nurse Master’s Degree, where you will develop an advanced nurses’ practices.

 Step Five – Apply for Certification.
Graduates holding CNS certificates should be prepared for the certification examination offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialists can work in diverse types of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, outpatient care facilities and home health care.

Here is a list of examples:

  • Geriatric facilities
  • Psychiatric care facilities
  • Health care facilities
  • Specialized doctor’s offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Community centers
  • Laboratories

The Average salary for a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the U.S

According to Indeed –

Indeed. Available at: [Accessed 25 July 2018].

The average salary for a Clinical Nurse Specialist is $112,031 per year in the United States. Salary estimates are based on 1,167 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by Clinical Nurse Specialist employees, users and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months. The typical tenure for a Clinical Nurse Specialist is 2-4 years.