I just found your site via the ANA NursingWorld homepage and read with interest the articles posted last year about the debate over the future of the CNS and NP roles, i.e., should we merge them or should they remain distinct. I have been following this debate for some time now as I went through school for my BSN and then entered the Master's program at the University of Hawaii.
From a student's viewpoint, I find the merger of CNS and NP education under the umbrella term "APN" to be a disservice to the students. Discussions with my classmates reveal that neither the NP students nor the CNS students are getting all that they believe they need to prepare them for their careers. Those RNs preparing for careers in clinical nursing believe they do not need the primary care emphasis that we in the NP track believe we need; conversely, as a future NP, I would rather concentrate on developing my clinical reasoning skills for primary care than developing the competencies of the CNS in the area of research.
Nursing needs to take a hard look at advanced practice education. Although I once thought that merging the educational preparation of the two clinical specialities was the appropriate path of the future, I have changed my mind. Now that I am nearing graduation from this type of blended program, I cannot no longer support this concept.
I stress here that my comments should in no way reflect on the University of Hawaii program; this program has responded to the financial and philosophical pressures of the time in nursing education by creating the APN program. My point is that, although it may be appropriate to blend the designation of NP and CNS under the APN title, the educational preparations for the two specialities are unique and should remain separate.
John Spiers, RN, FNP-S
University of Hawaii