How do I Choose the Best Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2018
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There are four items to consider when choosing the best clinical nurse specialist programs: course offerings, admissions requirements, accreditation, and faculty. Clinical nurse specialist programs are usually organized by the faculty of nursing within a larger university. A clinical nurse specialist provides expertise in diagnosis and treatment of illness. Their role is to provide expertise and advice to other nurses on ways to improve patient health, and to hospital administrators on systemic changes that will positively impact overall patient health.

The best clinical nurse specialist programs have a wide range of specialized courses. Subjects include analysis of nursing best practices, research projects into primary causes of non-essential patient mortality, and hospital organizational structure. Further areas of specialization include pediatrics, neonatal, cardiology, and oncology.

In order to qualify for admission to a clinical nurse specialist program, you must have completed a bachelor's degree in nursing. This is a graduate level program, intended for nurses who have significant experience in nursing. The best schools are usually located near a large hospital or medical school. This makes it easier for the school to organize guest lecturers from medical professionals. A clinical nurse specialist program is typically one year in length, and can be completed part time or full time.


If you are looking at the best clinical nurse specialist programs in the country or state, think about what is best for you. For example, a student with family responsibilities may find that a program with online course options is the best program. Another student may decide that a part-time program with courses in the evenings and weekends works best. Think about your daily life, what will fit, and find the program that works for you. Keep in mind that most students continue to work as nurses while completing this training program.

When looking for clinical nurse specialist programs, always check the accreditation status of the school. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school will be accepted by nursing licensing and certification boards. This is very important, as all nurses must be licensed to practice in each state.

Most clinical nurse specialist programs provide the biographies of their faculty or instructors on their website. The information listed typically includes the academic credentials, work experience, special training, and any awards they have received. Talk with your admissions counselor about these instructors and make sure that the program includes access to the best researchers and instructors.



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