Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialists are registered nurses (RNs) with graduate education (most have master’s degrees) and clinical competency to provide advanced nursing services in a specialty based on population, setting, disease/medical subspecialty, type of care or type of problem. Expertise includes direct clinical practice, coaching and guidance, collaboration, consultation, research, leadership and ethical decision-making. This unique role aims to integrate care across the continuum through three spheres of influence—patient, nurse and system—with a primary goal of continuous improvement of patient outcomes and nursing care through evidence-based nursing interventions.

[As of 2018, there are approximately 72,000 CNSs licensed in the U.S.]

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (