Nurses are an important part of clinical care in many different specialties and settings. If you're interested in advancing your education by exploring one of these specialties, you may want to consider clinical nurse specialist programs in Alabama.
Clinical nurse specialists provide evidence-based, advanced care to patients of all different medical needs, ages, and backgrounds. For example, some clinical nurse specialists work in palliative care. One area of research in nurse specialty focuses on the importance of palliative care.
One of the benefits of working as a clinical nurse specialist is the independence you can use in your clinical practice. You must make care decisions across three different spheres of practice: patient, nurse, and system. By integrating these spheres of influence, you can prevent and treat illness, work alongside other care providers, and promote healthy choices amongst your chosen patient population.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your nursing career, find out what it takes to succeed in clinical nurse specialist programs in Alabama.
Clinical nurse specialist schools in Alabama tend to be fairly competitive. This is a graduate-level program, so you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing to enroll in a CNS program. There are a few schools that offer RN-to-MSN degrees, so you may be able to get your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the same time. Traditional programs in this area of study take two to three years of full-time study.
As an advanced nursing student, you may develop a set of core competencies that define your nursing practice and knowledge. You may learn how to work independently in direct clinical practice, consult research and journals to improve your education, collaborate with health care professionals, and serve as a leader in a clinical setting.
The courses you are required to take as a CNS student prepare you for success in these competencies and learning outcomes. Some of the classes you may be required to take include Physio-Pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing, Scientific Underpinnings of Advanced Nursing Practice, Nursing Leadership, Clinical Concepts of the CNS Role, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice, and Health Care Policy & Finance. Many of these courses focus on providing you with clinical experience. Master’s degree programs in nursing typically provide at least 500 hours of clinical experience.
As an advanced nursing student, you can apply for a variety of scholarships to cover your educational costs. The Alabama Board of Nursing awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to graduate students every year. The NURSE Corps Scholarship Program may be an option for you if you’re willing to work in an underserved area of Alabama. Through the Alabama Student Nurses’ Association, you may be able to apply for different types of financial aid.
You must meet the licensure requirements of the Alabama Board of Nursing to start working as a clinical nurse specialist. This involves passing a comprehensive licensing exam in your chosen specialty and applying for advanced standing.
In Alabama, the average salary for a registered nurse is $54,500 per year (O*Net, 2013). With a master’s degree and an advanced license, your earning potential may increase significantly.
Your job outlook depends on which part of Alabama you live in and which specialty you pursue. Generally speaking, however, the job outlook is positive in Alabama. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net anticipates a 19 percent increase in registered nursing jobs.
Becoming a clinical nurse specialist can allow you to use your training and medical knowledge to their fullest extent. Take the first step now by contacting clinical nurse specialist programs in Alabama.