How to start your career as a clinical nurse specialist

Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are responsible with providing care to patients in one of an array of specialties, including paediatrics, emergency care, geriatrics, and oncology. Clinical nurse specialists may also serve as advisors, assisting other health care professionals to improve patient outcomes and to influence all levels of care. This career is classified as an advanced practice because it requires graduate-level education, not to mention clinical training. This article plans to outline the requirements of a degree program and to inform you about nurse jobs.

Educational prerequisites for nursing

Aspiring clinical nursing specialists have to first attend nursing school. Taking into account that most degree programs require the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree, you will have to attend a 4-year nursing school in the chosen route to take. Courses include pharmacology, pathophysiology, anatomy, patient health assessment, and physiology and, last but not least, nursing throughout all life stages. It is a good idea to maintain the required point average. Degree programs are actually highly competitive, reason why they require their applicants to maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA.

Equally important is that degree programs require work experience, so it is advisable to begin the process as early as you can. Master’s degree programs for clinical nurses take about 2-3 years to complete, depending on the preferred specialty. During this time, you will need to develop advanced nursing skills, nursing practices, pathophysiology and of course take advanced nursing courses that have connections with the specialty you have chosen. Since many employers prefer CNSs to write their own prescriptions, you should obtain prescriptive authority.

What your career options are

After graduating from school, you can start looking for employment opportunities. Similar to other advanced practice nursing occupations, the demand for clinical nurse specialists is increasing. The truth is that the general demand for healthcare is on the rise, reason why the services provided by CNSs are less expensive than those offered by physicians. Compared to other nursing professionals, there are fewer professionals working in the field of this advanced practice. This is largely due to the requirements for clinical nurse specialists who need to have a graduate degree, state licences, and credentials before gaining employment. However, the demand for CNSs is high. The salary of a clinical nurse specialist varies considerably, depending mainly on the geographic location.

How to find clinical nurse specialist job 

Sources of employment have definitely opened up in the last couple of years. In order to access these nursing jobs in the UK you should visit an online medical job board. Whether you are interested in working in the preferred specialty or you maybe want a teaching job, you should start your hunt online. The only issue is that you may not be able to find employment in your area of choice, so you will most likely find yourself competing with other candidates. You should also take into consideration areas beyond your favourite one and learn skills such as flexibility and adaptability. It is possible to get a new job as long as you invest effort and time.

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