Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Specialist
Experienced clinical nurses can prepare for advanced leadership with Gwynedd Mercy University’s Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Specialist program. This 43-credit master’s degree program equips you with advanced clinical knowledge to better serve your patients, and the leadership skills you need to become a force for systematic change.
The program focuses on adult and elderly patients and covers advanced practice in multiple settings, such as:
- Acute care
- Ambulatory care
- Home-based care
- Long-term and rehabilitative care facilities
The MSN-CNS includes 500 hours of precepted clinical and role specialty practice. After graduation, you should be prepared to pass the American Nurses Credentialing Center Clinical Nurse Specialist Exam and qualify as a CNS. You will also be academically prepared to pursue a doctoral degree in nursing.
You can complete this program in about two years of full-time study. It is currently available on our main campus in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania.
Career Opportunities for Clinical Nurse Specialist Graduates
MSN-CNS graduates combine patient care with management, research and policy leadership – a potentially transformative role within a health care setting. You’ll not only provide superior care to patients; you will look for ways to improve nursing care delivery across your entire organization.
Roles and Salary Potential*
- Clinical Nurse Specialist– Median salary $98,420[i]
- Nursing Manager– Median salary $82,361[ii]
- Clinical Nursing Manager – Median salary $82,120[iii]
- Nursing Administrator– Median salary $80,451[iv]
Curriculum and Course Topics
The goal of the MSN-CNS program is to produce exceptional Clinical Nurse Specialists who can provide high-level treatment to adult patients, including the elderly. Nurses who graduate from this program also develop advanced skills in either nursing education or nursing management.
Course topics include a 19-credit core of courses:
- Pharmacotherapeutics for APN Across the Lifespan
- Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice Nursing
- Theoretical Foundations of NursingAdvanced Assessment Practicum for APN
- Advanced Physical Assessment APN Across the Lifespan
- Research Methodology
- Research Seminar
The remaining 24 credits include a blend of electives and specialty courses (15 credits) and management or teaching role courses (9 credits).
Nurses who choose the management track complete a 3-credit Organizational Behavior course and a 6-credit Clinical Practicum. Nurses who choose the teaching track complete a 3-credit Curriculum Design course and a Clinical Practicum Teaching Role.
Completing Your Clinical Requirements
The MSN-CNS program requires 500 hours of precepted clinical practice in a setting other than your place of employment. Gwynedd Mercy University has hundreds of partnerships with health care providers that you can take advantage of in order to find your clinical site. Faculty members will be able to assist you in locating a site, designating a preceptor, and completing all necessary documentation.
This nursing master’s degree program is for current, licensed Registered Nurses. Admissions requirements include:
1. A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
- Cumulative average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in above program.
- Official university transcripts.
- A basic statistics course equivalent to three semester hours.
- A physical assessment course equivalent to two semester hours.
2. Current RN licensure with clinical practice experience
3. Official results of the Miller Analogies Test or Graduate Record Examination taken within the past five years**
4. Two letters of reference from professional nurses.
5. A personal interview with a graduate faculty member from the appropriate area of specialization.
6. Statement of professional goals prior to scheduling an interview with graduate faculty.
7. Evidence of current professional liability insurance and a completed health form must be submitted prior to beginning clinical courses.
8. Foreign applicants must provide evidence that they have received a minimum score of 575 on the TOEFL examination.
*Nurses with baccalaureate degrees in fields other than nursing will be considered on an individual basis.
**This requirement will be waived for applicants who earned a cumulative average of 3.6 or better in their undergraduate nursing program.
Applicants who earned a 3.0 or higher GPA may apply for non-matriculated status. This allows you to take up to two courses or six credits while compiling your documentation for formal acceptance. These courses are applied toward your degree requirements.
Discover the Next in Your Nursing Career
Do more for patients, their families, and your community as an advanced practice nurse. Contact Gwynedd Mercy University today to learn more about our master’s degree programs in nursing.
* Please note that salary estimates are based on survey data. Actual salaries may vary widely depending upon your location, the employer, and your experience and certification.