critical care units ), the CNS is the clinical nurse expert , consulting with the multidisciplinary team on complex patient care needs , research study design , and implementation of research findings to improve practice .
Becoming a CNS : Amanda ’ s Story As a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ( NICU ) I wanted to become an expert for the neonatal population . I enjoyed teaching , participating in quality improvement projects , and absorbing all that I could about NICU nursing and neonatal patients . I learned about the CNS role and was highly encouraged to become a CNS . Advancing my education to become a CNS was challenging and exactly what I was looking for to expand my expertise . I have since enjoyed participating in nationwide and statewide collaboratives to improve care provided to patients , developed educational programs in my NICU , presenting at statewide and national conferences , and provided consultation on neonatal patients in the NICU and PICU environments . I would encourage any nurse who is looking to advance their profession to consider the opportunities available to the CNS . I am so grateful to my mentors who encouraged me to choose this career path .
My CNS Journey : Robin ’ s Story As a new graduate RN in the NICU ( many years ago ), I experienced first-hand the frustration of learning a new specialty without a strong standard approach to teaching / learning or nursing guidelines of care . I remember asking about the lack of standardization and if “ there was a way to have guidelines ” for new RNs to use as a reference . Looking back at this request , I ’ m shocked that I made it through those early years as my anxiety and stress were very high .
I did make it through my initial orientation and believe that the frustration I felt ( along with my passion for quality nursing care ) was channeled into my desire to become a CNS to help standardize care , when possible , develop and implement guidelines of care , and practice evidence-based nursing . I practiced at the bedside for many years before obtaining my graduate degree with a focus on the CNS role . I began practicing as a CNS in 1992 and experienced many learning lessons , success , failures , frustration , and elation through the years . Many colleagues have supported and mentored me , but the patients and their families have had the biggest impact in my learning ( and still do ). I ’ ve since completed by Doctor of Nursing Practice ( DNP ) and I ’ ve never looked back .
References : DeNisco , S . M . ( 2021 ). Advanced practice nursing : Essential knowledge for the profession . Jones & Bartlett Learning
Gabbard , E . R ., Klein , D ., Vollman , K ., Chamblee , T . B ., Soltis , L . M ., & Zellinger , M . ( 2021 ). Clinical Nurse Specialist . Clinical Nurse Specialist , 35 ( 5 ), 271-276 . https :// doi . org / 10.4037 / nci . 0000000000000070
NACNS . ( 2018 ). Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education ( 3rd Edition ).
National Council of State Boards of Nursing ( NCSBN ). ( no date ). Scope of Practice FAQs for Consumers . Retrieved September 1 , 2021 from https :// www . ncsbn . org / APRNS _ Scope _ of _ Practice _ FAQs _ for _ Consumers . pdf
Robin M . Koeppel , DNP , RN , CNS , RNC- NIC , CPNP , is a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist / Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the University of California , Irvine Medical Center , Orange , CA .
Amanda Williams , MSN , RN , CNS , ACCS-N , RNC-NIC , NPD-BC , works at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center , in Los Angeles , CA .
18 NSNA IMPRINT • JANUARY 2022 • www . nsna . org