Clinical Nurse Specialist Vs Nurse Practitioner


Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Nurse Practitioner (NP) are both specialty nurses with advance education and certification, offering variety cares to patients in varied health care settings. Though, both specialty nurses are registered nurses, highly trained for higher level job positions and cares, and have many similarities but their job duties, employment and role varies slightly.

The below given details will furnish you information on Clinical Nurse Specialist vs Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioner

  1. NP is a highly trained registered nurse with advance certification with specialty, performing varied duties that can be performed by a physician, for providing numerous cares and treatments to a patient.
  2. They are also qualified to provide cares independently, with a team of nursing professionals, along with the physician or under the direction of a physician.
  3. Their qualification also allows them to prescribe medications and provide cares for various types of medical ailments, critical as well as chronicle.
  4. Master’s degree in Nursing is prerequisite for their high level education and they gain specialty certification or doctoral degree.
  5. Their job description include, diagnosing, recommend various tests and examination, apprise the physician about the test results, provide drugs and initial check ups, document patients’ history, counseling and others.
  6. They work in varied health care settings including hospitals, physician’s office, long term care facilities, OPD, nursing homes, private and retail health clinics, intensive care units such as NICU, gynecology unit, pediatrics, child care units, adult care units.
  7. Their salary is around $65,000 to $98,500 & more depending upon   the job location and position, type of the facility, education and certification and work experience.
  8. NP specializations include varied specialty tracks such as Pediatrics, Psychiatric Mental Health, Acute Care, family health, Women’s Health and others.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

  1. CNS is also advance practicing nurse specialist with Master’s, Post-Master’s Certificate or doctorate level education.
  2. Their education prepares them for advance level cares for acute and non acute care and for leadership role.
  3. They practice for specified specialty, such as lung or heart disease and others.
  4. They mostly work in acute care centers, such as intensive care units, palliative care and emergency rooms and others, though few of them also work in non acute centers such as hospitals, home care agencies, homes, clinics, physician’s office, private practices and schools.
  5. Their specialized cares are based on the evidence based practice and they follow three spheres of influence including, population, nursing personnel and organization and/or system.
  6. Their primary competencies framework consists of assessment, diagnosis of the disease, identification, plans for specialized care, interventions and evaluation.
  7. Other than providing specialized cares, their duties also comprises of improving cares through research and use of latest and innovative medical technologies, practice as a health care consultants and teachers by  guiding and coaching nursing professionals for best outcomes and constantly work for the improvements of the system.
  8. They need to apply for the prescriptive authority, provided they meet the prescriptive authority criteria.
  9. The salary of a clinical nurse specialist is around $64,545 to $94,500 & more depending upon the employed facility, education and certification and position.

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