Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

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.

MSN Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Specialty Tracks and Curriculum

The Adult-Gerontology CNS and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care CNS programs are offered fully online. Clinical placements can be arranged where students live or work.  

Clinical Experience Requirement

A minimum of 2,000 hours of recent clinical practice experience is required before entering the first APRN clinical rotation. 

The post-graduate APRN certificate program at Loyola University Chicago School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC, 20001, (202) 887-6791.

The US Department of Education requires any institution offering distance education/online programs to students outside of its home state to acquire authorization from the states in which students reside. Regulations vary from state to state. While Loyola University Chicago is authorized, exempt or pursuing authorization in most states, some restrictions apply. Please see our State Authorization page for the most up-to-date information.

Loyola University Chicago is registered as a private institution with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.