Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs
Clinical Nurse Specialists make important contributions to health care including: serving as clinical experts in the delivery of evidence-based nursing interventions; developing, influencing, and evaluating population-based programs of care; educating nurses and health care professionals in solving patient care problems; implementing improvements in the health care delivery system; and collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to coordinate care and implement best practice models. Clinical Nurse Specialists are educated at the graduate level, prepared to pass the national certification exam, and then licensed by the state as advanced practice nurses.
In the CNS programs, students are prepared to influence three spheres: the patient, nursing personnel, and the health-care system, with the primary goal of continuous improvement of patient outcomes and nursing care. The focus of the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AG CNS) is advanced theoretical knowledge and practice skills across health care settings, centering on the adult age spectrum. The focus of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care CNS (AG ACCNS) is advanced theoretical knowledge and practice skills needed to function in increasingly complex acute and/or critical care settings. The focus of the Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (Oncology CNS) is across the cancer care continuum (genetic screening, primary prevention, acute care and palliative care). Oncology CNS students learn a blend of clinical and entrepreneurial skills to lead interdisciplinary, cancer-related teams and to design and implement innovative health care practices.
MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Specialty Tracks and Curriculum
- Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist
The Oncology CNS program is offered in an online format. Clinical placements can be arranged near where students live or work. The Adult-Gerontology CNS, and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care CNS programs are offered in a blended format. Blended programs include online and face-to-face courses. Clinical placements for students in these programs are in the Chicagoland area, and students must have a RN license in the state of Illinois before they begin clinical.
Clinical Experience Requirement
2,000 hours of recent clinical nursing experience is required prior to beginning the first practicum in the nursing specialty to which you are applying.