Certification Talking Points

  • NACNS supports the masters or doctorate degree in nursing with a CNS focus as the credential for entry into CNS practice.
  • NACNS supports certification by examination as additional verification of practice competencies (if needed) and only in situations where that certification exam reflects the specialty practice.
  • NACNS supports a modular certification model where core CNS competencies are a module consistent with the core competencies outlined in the NACNS statement. (Note: Since the practice of CNS is uniquely different from the practice of NPs, CNM, and CRNA, NACNS believes there can be no core practice competencies that address the practice of all APNs)
  • NACNS believes that an earned graduate degree in nursing represents core knowledge for APNs in content such as theory, research, advocacy, ethics, etc.
  • NACNS supports alternative mechanisms for validating specialty competencies, such as portfolio review.

NACNS supports a modular certification model that includes

  1. Earned graduate degree in nursing with CNS clinical focus
  2. Exam module for CNS practice competencies
  3. Specialty module options to address specialty knowledge — options could include basic or advanced exams offered by specialty organizations or portfolios.

CNSs with earned master’s degrees in nursing from programs with a clinical focus but not specifically designated CNS, and who have been practicing competently as a CNS for many years, NACNS supports the development of a process to allow these CNSs to sit for CNS core competency mode. In this time of devastating shortage, we must find ways to embrace our most educated and experienced nurses. No one can undo their past — and nursing needs the continued competency of these time proven CNSs.