What Does It Mean to Be A CNS?

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) are registered nurses that pursue advanced knowledge and clinical skills in a particular area of nursing. Premier Health values CNSs as influential team members in a wide variety of settings across our health care system.

Erin Greene headshotErin Greene, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCRN, manager of Advanced Practice Providers at Miami Valley Hospital, explains more about what it means to be a CNS:


What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)?

A CNS is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who can provide diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of patients in an inpatient or clinic setting. 

CNSs are educators. They not only provide education to patients and families, but to fellow health care providers such as other Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), registered nurses (RNs), and residents.

On the health care team, CNSs play a vital role in integrating evidence-based practices and ensuring that they remain the cornerstone of clinical care. A CNS should drive performance improvement initiatives that lead to positive quality outcomes.

Last, but not least, CNSs are valuable agents for change. They should always be trying to identify the “Why?” and asking, “Is there a better way?” or “How can we provide better care for our patients?”

What role do Clinical Nurse Specialists play in health care?

CNSs are vital, as they play a key role in impacting finance by working to drive down length of stay and readmission rates, as well as reduce variation and inefficiencies in health care processes. A CNS’s job is to stand at the crossroads between hospital administration, providers, nursing, and the quality team to provide the support and direction needed to make the right decisions and go the right way.

What makes a great Clinical Nurse Specialist?   

A great CNS easily builds relationships across disciplines and hospital systems and can leverage those relationships to help make lasting changes for the greater good of patients.

What training does it take to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Earning a master’s degree and a certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) qualifies a nurse to become a licensed CNS in the state of Ohio.

What would you like Premier Health patients to know about our Clinical Nurse Specialists?

Premier Health is very supportive of the role that CNSs play, and we are fortunate to have CNSs working in most specialties – perinatal, women’s health, oncology, cardiovascular services, wound care, geriatrics, orthopedics, neuroscience, critical care, pain management, and more.