Press Room

Just Ask Jen: Why You Should Become a CNS

Join us in welcoming our current President, Jennifer Manning, to her first Just Ask Jen blog! In this quarter’s edition, Jennifer discusses the first steps to becoming a CNS, advice to someone considering becoming a CNS, and the advantages of being a CNS over another APRN role.

1. I am a nurse with a DNP in Leadership, and I am currently in an administrative role in quality and patient safety, however, I would like to pivot to a more patient-facing role in Geriatrics and Psychiatry. What would be the first steps toward becoming a CNS?

The first step toward becoming a CNS is identifying the program you want to enroll in and the population you want to care for. The most diverse population is the Adult Gerontology CNS and there are many in-person, hybrid, and distance learning options to choose from. I recommend you contact a program director from our webpage to further learn about programs you are interested in.

2. I am currently enrolled in an MSN program and teach nurse clinicals as adjunct faculty at the same college in Wisconsin. My primary interest in getting a master’s degree is to continue teaching, so currently, the plan is for me to continue into the CNS track. The college does not offer an MSN-ED degree or a general MSN. While there are other aspects of the CNS track that are of interest to me such as helping to reduce healthcare costs, I am wondering if the CNS is the correct path for me or if I should transfer to a program that offers an educator track. What are your thoughts? 

Wonderful news. I recommend the CNS track, as it offers the most options, including teaching students. You could also practice as an APRN based on the state scope of practice where you live.

3. What advice would you give to someone considering a CNS education path?

I would advise trying to find a CNS in your organization who is in practice and asking to shadow them or meet for coffee. It is helpful to list what is important to you as a career CNS. From there, identify a program to apply to and enroll!!

4. What are the advantages of becoming a CNS over another APRN such as an NP?

The advantage of becoming a CNS is the versatility of the role. Like the NP, the CNS can provide direct care. Unlike an NP, the CNS can also provide care and improve processes at the hospital system level and among nurses in organizations. The versatility is what I love about being a CNS. We improve care across all areas of healthcare.

5. What scholarships are available for those wanting to become a CNS?

Great question. As a member of NACNS, there are scholarships available on our website. I encourage you to go to your nursing school’s website and ask what scholarships are available. Too often, scholarships are not awarded because there are no applicants. If you take the time to look, and ask questions, you will find scholarships out there for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *