Alaska Clinical Nurse Specialist

The professionals who are responsible for running hospitals and clinics know very well how important nurses are. Nurses are the backbone of patient care, health care research, and teamwork in health care. If you have used your Bachelor’s degree in nursing to get at least one year of experience in this field, you may be ready to become a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in Alaska.

To learn about CNS programs in Alaska, contact the schools listed below for details about admissions, costs and curriculum.

The Society for Clinical Nurse Specialist Education reports that expert nurses fill a variety of roles in a clinical setting. They develop an extensive understanding of nursing research and theory, particularly in one area of interest. CNSs may use this information in many different practice roles, from patient advocate and liaison to care consulting and care management.

Becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Alaska

Clinical nurse specialist programs tend to be fairly rigorous, so you must meet a strict set of admissions requirements before getting accepted to your program of choice. You must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and at least one year of full-time nursing experience.

After getting accepted to a CNS program, you can choose your specialized area of study. Sample areas of study include pediatric, elderly care, home health, and psychiatric/mental health care. This choice determines where you conduct research and which population you work with, so it’s important to choose the focus that you are most interested in.
Typically, Alaska CNS programs require between 30 and 40 credits of study, which typically takes about one to two years of full-time study. In the beginning of your education, you may complete courses like Applications of Research to Practice, Context of Healthcare for Advanced Practice Nursing, Reasoning in Nursing Research, and Ethical Basis for Nursing.

Advanced courses in this area of study include Clinical Pharmacology, Health Assessment and Measurement, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Human and Family Development, Evaluation in Health Care, and Pathophysiological Basis for Advanced Practice Nursing.

As a CNS student, you will likely get plenty of clinical experience. Most programs in Alaska include at least 500 hours of clinical practice. This is less than what’s required for many clinical nursing programs, since clinical nurse specialists have a greater focus on research and leadership.

When you get accepted to a clinical nurse specialist program, you can begin applying for different scholarships and grants. These grants may help you avoid adding to your student loans and give you funds for your graduate nursing program. The Alaska Nurses Association is a good source of nursing scholarships for graduate students.

The Health Care Professions Loan Repayment and Incentive Program rewards those who work in an underserved area of Alaska after graduation. Through the Alaska Community Foundation, you may be able to apply for several different nursing scholarships.

Working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Alaska

Becoming a clinical nurse specialist may give you the chance to enjoy a great job outlook in Alaska and earn a competitive salary. CNN lists clinical nurse specialist as one of its best jobs in America. Their estimates indicate that job openings for clinical nurse specialists may increase by 26 percent through 2022. The average salary for a clinical nurse specialist is $86,500 per year.

Upon completing your education, you must get CNS certification through the ANCC Certification Program. After passing a rigorous exam in this field, you can become certified to work as a CNS and earn your license through the Alaska Board of Nursing. With an advanced practice license, you may work to the full extent of your scope of practice.

If you love learning more about new procedures, updating staff on procedure changes and research updates, and improving patient care, a career as a CNS may be very rewarding for you. Learn more about your options by contacting CNS programs in Alaska today.

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