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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)


Defined by National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists: A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). CNSs hold graduate nursing degrees and are experts in a particular specialty, such as population (e.g. pediatrics), type of problem (e.g. wound care), setting (e.g. Intensive Care Unit), type of care (e.g. rehabilitation), or disease (e.g. diabetes). They can work in any number of settings, such as a hospital, private practice, or a clinic. Regardless of specialty or setting, CNSs provide leadership in clinical expertise, nursing practice, and systems innovation. CNSs diagnose, develop plans of care for, treat, and provide ongoing management of complex patients. In many states, the CNS can prescribe medications, and durable medical equipment and therapies. They also provide expertise and support to bedside nurses, help drive practice changes throughout the organization, and ensure the use of best practices and evidence-based care to achieve the best possible patient outcomes. CNSs have the skills and expertise to identify gaps in health care delivery. They have the expertise to help design, implement, assess and evaluate health care interventions to improve health care delivery and outcomes. (NACNS, 2017, p.2)

Source: NACNS (2017) Clinical Nurse Specialist Vision Value Voice

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