Clinical Nurse Specialist Recognition Week: Everything You Need to Know
Clinical Nurse Specialist Recognition week takes place over September 1st through September 7th. While these highly-skilled nurses should be recognized all year-long, this is a special time to celebrate, paying tribute and building awareness of the essential role CNS’ play in healthcare.
Hospitals and healthcare systems around the country will honor the CNS with this year’s theme, “Clinical Nurse Specialists: Catalysts for Change and Innovation.” It’s a great way to bring attention to the many ways these hard-working nurses, improve patient outcomes and safety as well as quality of care.
Clinical Nurse Specialists who are working in a travel nursing job as well as CNS’ in more traditional positions working directly for facilities are critical for healthcare delivery. If you aren’t familiar with this role or are thinking about becoming a CNS yourself but aren’t sure what it entails, this is a great time to learn.
The Role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist
While Rutgers University School of Nursing birthed the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist, the late Dr. Hildegard Peplau, RN, Ed.D., founded this career. In 1956 she established the first nursing master’s degree program that had a focus exclusively on clinical practice, with graduates referred to as clinical specialists. Peplau emphasized nurse-client relationships as the foundation for nursing practice as well as the partnership model focusing on shared experiences through description, observation, interpretation, formulation, intervention and validation.
Today, the CNS is an expert at diagnosing and treating conditions in their specific area of expertise. A nursing staff at any given facility, both permanent and temporary, such as travel nurses, look to the Clinical Nurse Specialist as guide for their own practice, helping to improve overall efficiency in the workplace.
The CNS has been called a “one-person show”, with five primary responsibilities they’re tasked with, including clinical practice, teaching, management, research and consulting. They serve as a patient advocate as well, coordinating resources and money-saving services while managing to provide the best possible health outcome as well.
Daily Activities for the Clinical Nurse Specialist
As with many nursing roles, the daily activities for a CNS can vary. According to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS), as a group, the majority, 22%, spend most of their time providing direct patient care. Teaching nurses and staff follows closely at 20% as does consulting with staff, nurses and others, also at 20%. Some 14% of CNS’ lead evidence-based practice projects while 12% assist other staff and nurses with direct patient care.
Where CNS Positions Can Be Found
As a Clinical Nurse Specialist is a highly-trained expert in the nursing field, they have many different options to choose from, with a variety of settings available to work in, whether in the travel nursing role or a direction position, including:
- Private practice
- Long-term care facilities
- Health centers
- Home health service
Education and Certification Required to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist
A clinical nurse specialist requires an advanced education, including a Master of Science in Nursing degree, MSN. As it is such a varied field, those who are interesting in becoming a CNS must choose a specialty to focus on.
An MSN can be earned in a traditional classroom setting or online, with courses more advanced than what you might expect in a bachelor’s degree program. A CNS should become certified as well. While it isn’t required in all 50 states, most employers require it, and if you’re considering becoming a travel nurse, as you’ll be working in various states, it’s really a must. It also provides evidence that you have the skills for the job.
How to Honor CNS Week
The NACNS advises purchasing NACNS swag or a special CNS Week button to honor the week, and the hard work the CNS performs, with pride. You can also share photos of celebrations on social media, including Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #CNSWeek. If you know a CNS, be sure to show your thanks in any way you can.