How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist

If you're interested in becoming an advanced practice nurse, consider a job as a clinical nurse specialist.

What You'll Do

  • Provide expertise in a specialty area by developing standards of practice
  • Review treatment programs and adjust as necessary
  • Create and uphold policies and procedures and standards
  • Gather patient information via interviews and medical records to improve services
  • Create treatment plans and provide guidance on other providers' plans
  • Work in tandem with other providers and health care professionals on a number of issues, including clinical procedures
  • Educate and mentor other nurses
  • Assess the quality of programs by designing evaluation standards
  • Supervise nurses as it relates to patient care 

Part of the elite group of advanced practice nurses, a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) has a special set of skills and knowledge. Not only can they diagnose patients and subsequently provide treatment, but they also serve in leadership and consulting roles. CNSs are influential and impact health care across the board, from reducing medical complications to improving patient satisfaction. Reaching this level of nursing takes dedication, but if you want to help improve health care and be part of decision-making processes, a CNS career could be a great fit. And, since advanced practice nurses choose a specialization, you can work in an area that interests you most. Learn what traits and skills are needed to succeed as a clinical nurse specialist.

You are... You should have...
An active learner Problem-solving skills
Enterprising Leadership talent
Dependable Ability to maintain interpersonal relationships
Encouraging Compassion for others
A clear communicator Team-building skills
An excellent listener Mentoring skills

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