Improving patient outcomes and nursing care


There is always room for improvement, especially in health care. For nurses looking for a versatile, advanced practice role that allows them to care for patients while also leading organizational change, you can make an impact as an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). The CNS role provides leadership for best practice initiatives and cost-effective quality improvement. They are most effective at working across the system to improve clinical outcomes. 

As a graduate of Loyola Nursing's Adult-Gerontology CNS program, you will possess the advanced knowledge and skills to coordinate quality care practices. Loyola Nursing's curriculum focuses on three spheres of impact: patient care, nursing personnel, and the health care system. This may include direct patient care, as well as consultation, systems leadership, research, ethical decision-making, and advocacy. 

Our Commitment to You


Graduates of Loyola's Adult-Gerontology CNS track will gain the following knowledge, competencies, and professional values to operationalize the CNS role and develop, deliver, and evaluate evidence-based care of adults at the highest level of nursing practice. 



You will learn:  

  • Conduct advanced physical assessments and health histories for adult patients
  • Population health principles and concepts
  • Theoretical, conceptual, and evidence-based foundations for the CNS role in caring for clients across the adult age spectrum
  • Patient evaluation and triage protocols
  • Methods of advanced physical and health assessment and history taking
  • Advanced pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics
  • Advanced physiology of health and illness
  • Management of health and illness in adult and gerontologic populations
  • Clinical organizational structure, workflow, and operational procedures
  • Accreditation and certification requirements and standards
  • Safety principles and practices
  • Systems thinking principles and concepts
  • Resource management in health care
  • Quality improvement principles and practices
  • Health care policy and advocacy
  • Health care economics and finance
  • Decision-making tools and processes



You will be able to: 

  • Conduct advanced physical assessments and health histories for adult and gerontologic patients in acute care settings
  • Collaborate with inter-professional teams in addressing patient care issues
  • Implement improvements in health care delivery systems
  • Develop, influence and evaluate population-based programs of care
  • Assess staff competency
  • Analyze trends, issues, and evidence in health care and health care systems
  • Integrate the best evidence and patient preferences into the development, delivery, and evaluation of care
  • Foster and maintain team partnerships in collaborative health care environments



Loyola Nursing is committed to preparing nurse leaders that value:

  • The hallmark characteristics of a Jesuit education:
    • Commitment to excellence
    • Faith in God
    • Service that promotes justice
    • Values-based leadership
    • Global awareness
  • Ethical and moral judgement
  • Eliminating health disparities
  • Promoting patient safety and excellence in nursing practice
  • Engaging in leadership activities through intra- and inter-professional collaboration
  • Ensuring equity in health policy
  • Accountability to patients, society, and the profession


Learn about the advanced practice care of patients across the cancer care continuum, by adding an Oncology specialty to your DNP degree. 

Learn more about Loyola's Oncology Nursing program.



The Adult-Gerontology CNS program can be completed fully online, allowing students to complete their clinical practicum hours at a site close to home.


63 credits



Core Courses:  

  • Theories & Concepts for Advanced Clinical Practice 
  • Research for Advanced Clinical Practice 
  • Population-focused Health 
  • Leadership and Roles in Advanced Nursing Practice 
  • Healthcare Policy and Economics 
  • Social Justice and Ethics in Health Care 
  • Statistics for Health and Biological Sciences 
  • Evidence Translation for Advanced Clinical Practice
  • DNP Project  

Role (CNS) Courses: 

  • Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan 
  • Advanced Pharmacology 
  • Advanced Pathophysiology 
  • Advanced Quality and Safety in Health Care
  • CNS Practice Across the Adult-Age Spectrum

Population (Adult-Gerontology) Courses: 

  • Advanced Practice Nursing Care of Older Adults


  • Clinical Practicum for Advanced Practice in the CNS role  
  • Interprofessional Education Practicum



A minimum of 2,000 hours of recent clinical practice experience is required before entering the first APRN clinical rotation. Students must have an RN license before they begin their clinical experiences/practicums.



You must be a registered nurse with a baccalaureate or master's degree in nursing from an accredited program to apply. Admission is competitive and based on the strength of application materials and interview.

Learn more about the application requirements for the Adult-Gerontology CNS track and apply today.

Questions? Contact Program Track Director Patricia Friend, PhD, APN-CNS, AOCNS, AGN-BC, at pfriend@luc.edu.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola's Financial Aid Office are committed to helping students secure the financial resources to make their education at Loyola affordable.