According to the national statistics, the average salary of clinical nurse ranges anywhere between USD 70,000 to USD 110,000 per year. These nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in subjects like pediatrics, gerontology, cardiology, public health, etc.
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a nurse who holds a Master’s or doctoral degree in a specialized area of nursing. To get employment they need licensure and the requirement for that can vary from one state to another. Gainful employment is offered by surgical hospitals, government agencies, private clinics, etc. They play a pivotal role in the healthcare system and provide expert services to the patients. In the United States, there is a shortage of nursing staff and this has led to an increase in demand for clinical nurse specialists.
They perform a variety of tasks ranging from diagnosis to devising treatment plans to help patients recover. CNS also train and advise other nurses on things like improving patient care and implementing procedures to ensure smooth running of the health care facility. Typically they work 40 hours per week, but most will do overtime in cases of medical emergencies, for which they are compensated.
The salary is quite comparable to other professions in the healthcare industry, with almost 50 percent of employed nurses making over $ 70,000 annually. High demand for specialized workers in the nursing profession also means that individuals get good salaries. The salary figures are, however, affected by factors like job location, experience and education of the candidate. If you are working from a metropolitan area, you can expect better salaries than your counterparts working from a suburban setting. Here is a table giving reference annual salaries for CNS in different states.
|New York||75,000 – 105,000 $|
|California||75,000 – 95,000 $|
|Texas||70,000 – 85,000 $|
|Colorado||70,000 – 80,000 $|
|Alaska||65,000 – 70,000 $|
Like in most other professions, experience of the candidate plays an important part in the clinical nurse specialist salary. Individuals with experience of 1-5 years will most likely get lower pay packages than those with 10 or more years of experience in the industry. Here is a table explaining the CNS annual salary corresponding to the years of experience, these figures are for reference only as they can be affected by various factors like specialization and education.
|1 – 5 years||55,000 – 75,000 $|
|5 – 10 years||75,000 – 105,000 $|
|10 years +||105,000 – 125,000 $|
Education and Job Description
If you are looking to enroll for a CNS training program, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a graduate level professional degree in nursing. Certificate programs are offered by many universities, which can last up to 4 years. Individuals can opt for a master’s degree program or a doctoral in nursing practice. The course will include training on advanced pharmacology, bioethics, adult health, pathophysiology, etc. Upon completion of training, candidates will be required to give certification exam offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The job involves research on the patient’s problems and then devising a treatment plan. They will also interact with the patient’s family and advise them on the therapy involved. Supervising and educating other nurses working under them is one of the key responsibilities of a CNS. They will devise and implement procedures in the healthcare setting that ensure better patient care. The CNS will play a big part in diagnosing the patient and monitoring the patient’s condition during treatment and recovery. They will also perform duties like collecting patient’s samples for laboratory tests, administering medication, recording vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate.
High demand for nursing staff across healthcare settings makes this a lucrative career option. Analysts predict that the pay packages for CNS are expected to see substantial growth in the coming years.