4 minute read

Clinical Nurse Specialist Job Description, Career as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Master degree

Median Salary: $80,975 per year

Job Prospects: Very good

Job Description

A clinical nurse specialist can work in a wide array of medical facilities and environments and most serve in several roles. The roles of a clinical nurse specialist usually fall into five categories: teaching, research, clinical practice, consulting, and management. This is a very involved job within a medical facility that demands a lot from the individual who serves in it.

This position requires many different skills. Clinical nurse specialists are heavily involved in patient care, and are an integral part of the research process. They educate patients and their families, as well as the nursing staff. Most importantly, clinical nurse specialists serve as a problem solvers, working with the medical staff to assess solutions for various patients.

The role of clinical nurse specialists is similar to that of nurse practitioners, yet it is much more involved than that. At any given time, clinical nurse specialists must be able to properly research patient problems and create a solution for the nursing staff directly. Though clinical nurse specialists may be involved in patient care, they are more likely to handle all of the research and educational functions required to ensure that patients receive the best care possible from the rest of the nursing staff.

Clinical nurse specialists are often working on processes and improvements to ensure the very best patient care at the medical facility in which they serve. They educate staff and patients and are often consulted as experts in their specialties.

Training/Educational Requirements

As this is an advanced type of nursing, it is usually required that clinical nurse specialists have a master’s degree. It is necessary to be licensed as a registered nurse in the state in which the clinical nurse specialist is working.

Training and education is constantly a part of being a clinical nurse specialist. Clinical nurse specialists often perform extensive research, so it can be helpful if they keep up with training courses and current trends. To keep their license current, these advanced nurses will have to fulfill certain continuing educational requirements.

How to Get Hired

The best way to get hired into a role as a clinical nurse specialist is to gain experience and exposure. Most who work in this role focus in a specific disease, like diabetes, or a certain area of the hospital, such as the emergency room. There is a need for clinical nurse specialists in all areas and focuses, so it’s best to gain experience in an area of interest.

Being able to handle different areas of patient care can be another excellent way to get hired into this role. Demonstrating the ability to work as an educator and researcher demonstrates the ability to do well within this position. This is a multifaceted role and any demonstration of competence within one or more areas of nursing will help a person to get hired as a clinical nurse specialist.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Fortunately, health care is often an area that grows independent of the state of the economy. There is great need for clinical nurse specialists because this is such a complex occupation requiring specially skilled people. The individuals who serve in this role have a specialty or focus, and this helps to make them subject-matter experts. This means that they are often in high demand, because there is always a need for expertise.

As clinical nurse specialists focus not only on patient care but also on research, education, and problem solving, they are a valuable resource to hospitals and medical facilities. This contributes to the need for this position, and the anticipated growth that it should experience. Though it requires much schooling, clinical nurse specialization can be an excellent career choice with much stability.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for clinical nurse specialists is usually a hospital or other medical facility, but this may vary quite a bit. Individuals in this role may work within a nursing home, urgent care clinic, emergency room, health care agency, or long-term care facility. Because this role offers many different responsibilities, it can be an integral part of any team in any sort of medical facility.

Clinical nurse specialists specialize in certain types of disease or areas of the hospital. As they work to gain experience within these specific areas, these nurses can expect to stay in the type of working environment that they become accustomed to. They may keep an office, mostly for research purposes, but they will likely be involved in some level of direct patient care.

Salary and Benefits

The typical salary range for a clinical nurse specialist is anywhere from $74,545 to $88,168, with the average salary around $80,975. There is obviously a wide range between the low and high end of the spectrum, and this variance is due to the experience level of the individuals filling the position. Experience plays a big role in the salary offered, as does the specific geographical location. Clinical nurse specialists typically receive fairly generous benefits, including good medical coverage and paid vacation and sick days. They may also expect to receive flexible work schedules, depending on the specific environment they work within.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine