What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist?
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) can be defined as an advanced medical professional with a graduate or a higher degree level education, specializing in diagnose and treatment of diseases. Traditionally, a clinical nurse specialist is found in set-ups requiring acute medical care but today, they are more & more found to be working in non-acute environments also. Some common duties performed by a clinical nurse specialist on a day-to-day basis include clinical practice, teaching, research, consulting, prescribing medication and management. A clinical nurse specialist often concentrates on a single specific part of nursing or a particular patient population or dealing in particular types of diseases or working in specific medical environments.
Any person who desires to be a clinical nurse specialist must initially start as a nurse who is registered. A clinical nurse specialist is required to undergo a 4 year bachelor’s (comprising of theory classes in the related field, lab work and clinical rotations) degree in his/ her field of interest – mental health, cardiac health, neonatal health, oncology or other fields. The bachelor’s degree can then be followed by a master’s degree in nursing in the specific field. Further, he/ she could even choose to pursue a doctorate degree in the same field.
Some special clinical nursing programs are also conducted in various fields like advanced practice nursing, pharmacology, family health, surgery, intensive care, community health, pediatrics, .advanced assessment, diagnostics, development and management.
Their expertise in a variety of subjects and fields also empowers them to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, home care systems, homes, clinics, offices, private businesses, private practices and schools.
Career of a Clinical Nurse Specialist
As marked before, a clinical nurse specialist initially starts as a registered nurse during the wee days of his/ her career and later graduates to the position of a clinical nurse specialist within the medical facility, hospital, clinic, government or school agency he/ she works in. Once he/ she gathers considerable years of experience, then, he/ she can consider exploring other employment opportunities.
The career graph of a clinical nurse specialist is known to be extremely fruitful. As stated by various research reports, currently there is a lack of clinical nurse specialists and the situation is only likely to get worse in the next few years. Clinical nurse specialists are in high demand as they are responsible for providing primary as well as specialized health care to patients minus the cost of the facility hiring a skilled physician. Of course, this great demand for trained clinical nurse specialists across countries only equals to higher wages, better benefits, more flexible work atmospheres & rosters & other such perks being doled out every now and then to entice and maintain the available nurses.
A clinical nurse specialist can expect to make an annual income of $65,000 to $110,000 during the initial days of his/ her career, depending upon his/ her specialty and work location.
Otherwise, the average yearly salary of a clinical nurse specialist is estimated to be around $80,000. But, this number may supersede itself and may even touch $75,000 – $100,000 per year based on dynamic factors such as geographic location, hiring facility, education and training level.
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