Clinical Nurse Specialists
Becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialists is an option for registered nurses who wanted to advance their knowledge and expertise in terms of nursing care with concentration to a specific field. The educational background that nurses must take can either be a master’s or doctoral degree. An LPN or licensed practical nurse can also be a clinical nurse specialist after completing some requisite courses in order to be certified under a bachelor’s degree.
They are called specialists since they devote more time to one of the fields in nursing such as: emergency nursing, oncology nursing, diagnostic aspects. Clinical nurse specialists also specialize in operating room as nurse anaesthetists and in the delivery room as nurse-midwives. They actually work in different settings including hospitals, health centres and community-based organizations.
Here are five steps outlined for career planning:
1. Obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. This means taking college units under the Bachelor of Science in nursing program. The program is designed to introduce students in the history of nursing in their first year. Theories are also taught in such a way to give them a broad grasp of nursing as a profession. At the second year, the students are introduced to basic nursing care practices involving the basic needs such as nutrition, elimination and rest and activity. Upon reaching the third year, the students are introduced to the alterations of the human body and known treatments proven by medical research. The fourth year involves looking into the proper nursing management and working as a team. It is the crucial part that student nurses are exposed the real working set-up; exposing them to the possible workload and work environment after college.
2. Pass the NCLEX-RN. A clinical nurse must first be a registered nurse in order to certify and ensure effective delivery of care. This is done through a comprehensive examination. For instance, the famous NCLEX-RN is conducted by the National Council Licensure Examination in order to screen out the people who are eligible in the profession. Each state actually may differ from its requirements but still boils down to one output – a license to practice nursing.
3. Clinical Exposure as a Registered Nurse – This clinical exposure might mean getting into a volunteer program for newly graduates. Others may even receive a pay already and serve as the first step in exploring where would you fit as a nurse. This period is an exploratory phase wherein specialization emerges as nurse spends time in knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Obtaining clinical experience after being registered is important if you are planning to be a clinical nurse specialist. Skills are of good investment when it comes to effective nursing care. The clinical exposure is a continuous period. It can be done together with continuing professional education.
4. Getting into a Masteral or Doctoral Degree. –This involves enrolling to a program that gives advanced knowledge regarding the work ahead. Specializations may range from critical care, internal medicine, paediatric, maternal and child or even nursing management. Typically, an average of two to three years can be allotted in order to finish this degree. As the nurse candidate acquires such education, his or her responsibilities widen and the compensation is also increased. Obtaining a course can be done in a typical lecture-classroom set-up or online programs. An agency is also responsible in ensuring that the online degrees being offered are credible. This is the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.
5. Be Certified by ANCC. – ANCC stands for American Nurses Credentialing Centre; this is the agency that certifies specialties such as paediatric, gerontology and adult health. They have set some criteria in order to ensure that their uniform standard of certification. This is done in order to protect the public as well as gain trust from them in terms of hospitalization and consuming health care services.
Upon certification by the ANCC, the clinical nurse specialists is expected to perform roles that is unique from other health team members.
A clinical nurse specialist serves a unique purpose which can be summarized into:
- Teacher or Information Agent – Clinical nurse specialists are the source of facts. They also hone and increase the knowledge of their patients through health education in maintenance of health as well as promote modification to their lifestyle.
- Manager – Clinical nurse specialists are trained in order to be managers of their unit. They have been studying some management styles that can applied in the work in order to be organized and to have the ability to reach the unit’s goal in a professional way. Nursing leadership is well exhibited through this role.
- Researcher – Clinical nurse specialists are in favour for evidence-based practice. This means that they stick on policies or procedures that have been studied to be effective on most population. They do not stop on seeking on how to improve the delivery of care. In turn, through research they are able to find problems and be able to solve them in a timely manner.
Being a clinical nurse specialist gives a registered nurse an opportunity to grow professionally. As nursing is a service oriented profession, being a clinical nurse specialist means taking the community into what nursing is.
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