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. Our MSN-CNS program is accredited by the CCNE. **
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:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a college or university accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Higher Education (CCNE), or Accrediting commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), (previously National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC), or Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA).
- 2 Professional References from employers and 1 academic reference (who have known the candidate a minimum of 1 year)
- Personal Goal Statement
- APA format including citations and references with 12-point font, 1-inch margins
- Minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 1000 words
- In the statement, identify the following:
- Purpose for attending graduate school
- Discuss the responsibilities of the role that you are pursuing
- Why are you suited for the role that you are pursuing
- How will you incorporate adding graduate school into your life
- Evidence of the equivalent of 12 months of clinical practice in the last 3 years in the area that you are applying prior to beginning the graduate practicum courses.
- Official sealed transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
- An undergraduate statistics course is required.
- Valid unencumbered Pennsylvania RN license (Must be PA).
- A maximum of 6 transferable credits will be evaluated for transfer. The candidate must provide the syllabus including course description and student learning outcomes within 30 days of the personal interview.
- Personal Interview with the Program Director and/or faculty.
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.
** The Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nursing Specialist program at Gwynedd Mercy University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org).