Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs Offer Many Options

Clinical nurse specialist programs include the courses necessary for registered nurses to attain an advanced degree in the medical specialty of their choosing. The fields of study are numerous.

Some CNSs specialize in treating specific diseases, such as diabetes or cancer. Some choose a specific medical environment as their specialty. They may be operating room or critical care specialists. Others specialize in specific fields, such as neurology or mental health.

Because there are so many different specialties, the courses they take vary too, although there are some commonalities. Courses covering general duties in five areas are always included. Those areas are clinical practice, management, consulting, research and teaching.

The need for registered nurses continues to grow throughout the world. Many nursing schools have been forced to turn away applicants, because they do not have the faculty necessary to teach the would-be nurses. CNSs may be able to fill those positions, which will be a big help to the healthcare field in general.

The degrees received after completing CNS programs are master’s degrees. The general degree is MSN, Master of Science in Nursing. There are other MSN degrees, all of which fall into the category of APN, Advanced Practice Nursing.

The demand for these specialties is expected to continue to grow according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, especially in rural areas and inner cities. APNs are seen more and more as a lower-cost alternative to physicians as primary care providers.

While the costs of seeing the specialty nurses are lower for the patients, the nurses themselves earn more. They are the top 10% of earners in the nursing field, with salaries exceeding $90,000 per year.

Of course earnings vary from one location to another and also depend on the working environment. CNSs working in hospitals typically earn more than those who work in physician’s offices or nursing homes.

CNS programs are offered by many universities and medical schools. The cost of tuition is typically lower at state universities. In-state tuition is significantly less than out-of-state tuition.

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement, especially if the nurses agree to stay with the employer once the program is completed. Some employers require their employees to sign 3-5 year contracts before they will provide the tuition reimbursement.

Many of the courses necessary to complete the clinical nurse specialist programs can be taken online via the internet. This is a helpful option for nurses who are currently working. The internet has made it easier for everyone to learn.

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