Clinical nurse specialists provide expert treatment and care to patients of all different ages, suffering from any number of different conditions. The main duty in most clinical nurse specialist jobs is to ensure quality patient care by providing analysis and advice regarding medical procedures. There are many different types of careers available to professionals who have the appropriate education and training. A nurse can specialize by working with a certain population of patients, such as children, women, or elderly people, or focus on patients suffering from specific conditions, such as cancer. Further, a clinical nurse can work in a critical care, general hospital, or private office setting.
Many clinical nurse specialist jobs involve providing direct care to patients as part of a healthcare team. Specialists work with doctors, surgeons, technicians, and other registered nurses to determine the most effective treatment strategies for individual patients. A nurse conducts research and analyzes statistics to decide on the best types of therapy or medication to provide to patients. Many clinical nurse specialists communicate directly with patients to explain their conditions and treatment options.
In order to provide quality care, a clinical nurse typically specializes in particular conditions or patients. A nurse who works in pediatric care, for example, has detailed knowledge of human development and common afflictions of young people. A palliative care clinical nurse focuses on terminally ill and elderly patients. A nurse may also work with individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer, HIV, a mental disorder, or another debilitating condition. The nearly endless number of patient types and conditions means that there are dozens of additional clinical nurse specialist jobs.
Clinical nurse specialist jobs are found in hospitals, specialty clinics, private doctors' offices, and nursing homes, among many other settings. Those who are employed by hospitals usually work in specific divisions, such as critical care units or long-term patient wings. A nurse who works in a private practice often sees fewer patients than a professional in a hospital, and is more heavily involved in diagnostic and treatment procedures. Clinical experts in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are generally the primary caregivers for patients.
Individuals are typically required to obtain master's degrees and pass extensive licensing exams before they can hold clinical nurse specialist jobs. Specific educational and training requirements vary by country, but most prospective nurses are expected to complete about six years of classroom studies and practical internships at hospitals or clinics. After gaining experience in supervised nursing positions, an individual can take a written exam to become a registered nurse (RN). An RN can become a clinical nurse specialist by gaining several additional years of experience and taking certification exams.