Clinical nurse specialists direct nursing staff in the provision of patient care in a clinical practice setting, such as a hospital, hospice, clinic, or home. They ensure adherence to established clinical policies, protocols, regulations, and standards.
A clinical nurse specialist is an advanced practice registered nurse who has earned a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. They are trained in physiology, pharmacology and physical assessment and use their expertise to assess, diagnose, and treat patients. Their role may extend to areas like health care management and research.
Clinical nurse specialists' job descriptions include providing diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of patients. They provide support to nurses, help drive practice changes throughout the organisation, and ensure evidence-based care to achieve the best patient outcomes.
Clinical nurse specialists' salaries depend on the skills the candidate possesses like identifying gaps in health care delivery. They help design and implement interventions, and assess and evaluate those to improve overall health care delivery. Their research may result in outcomes like reduced hospital costs and length of stay; reduced frequency of emergency room visits; improved pain management practices; increased patient satisfaction with nursing care; and reduced medical complications in hospitalized patients.
Clinical nurses need a bachelor of science degree in nursing. They work for a few years before applying to a clinical nurse specialist program, which can take approximately two years to complete. After graduating with a master’s degree in clinical nursing, they may obtain certification in specialities, including adult health, adult psychiatric and mental health, child/adolescent psych and mental health, gerontology, home health, paediatrics or public/community health.
Every career requires an element of study and academic qualification, and there can be several study routes and pathways you can take. In following any academic pathway you will study subjects that contribute to the specialised knowledge required to achieve your career goals. These qualifications provide a future employer with the evidence that you have the desired knowledge, understanding and experience of their industry, so it’s important to consider the various types of qualifications available to you and to understand how they can boost your career and create opportunities for you.
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