Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) are considered Advanced Practice nurses (APRNs) who have earned at least a master’s degree, which is usually in a specialized area of nursing. Some of the specialty areas include pediatrics, geriatrics, women’s health, public health, critical care or the emergency room.
New Mexico’s healthcare workforce has shortages, so they are working with multiple entities to build an adequate workforce through state agencies, including the New Mexico Legislature, academic institutions, hospital systems, clinics, local government and community organizations.
This may be the right time to get your graduate degree, as there are many new opportunities for nurse leaders to help design and improve systems in the state. Contact the schools listed below for program details.
New Mexico State University and Georgetown University offer accredited Clinical Nurse Specialist programs. The New Mexico Board of Nursing has the following requirements for a Clinical Nurse Specialist’s license.
- Current RN license
- Graduate from an accredited clinical nursing specialist program at the masters or doctorate level
- Must have a copy of current national certification after completing a national certifying examination in the applicant’s area of specialty
- Verification of Clinical Nurse Specialist Education Form must be received directly from the Clinical Nurse Specialist Program
- Prescriptive authority requires official transcripts, which must be received directly from the educational program. A completed Prescription Affidavit or Verification Letter from preceptor on official letterhead
- Current Formulary
The New Mexico State University offers programs, such as a Clinical Nurse Specialist - Nurse Practitioner and multiple other specialty certifications.
The admission criteria for a master’s degree in nursing at the most New Mexico nursing programs includes:
- Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from an accredited nursing program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better
- Current, unencumbered RN license
- Complete a short bio-sketch and an essay describing our reasons for wishing to pursue your MSN degree
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended
- Two letters of reference from former faculty and/or employers
- Scores from a recent administration of the GRE are required (verbal, quantitative and analytical with scores)
If you choose to pursue a CNS degree in Public Health, these courses may be required:
- Community and Psychosocial Aspects of Probably Health
- Biostatistical Application in Public Health
- Epidmiological Approaches to Disease Control and Prevention
- Health Services System: Administration and Organization
- Environmental Public Health Issues
- Foundation of Public Health Education
- Techniques of Health Communication/Education
- Community Organization in Public Health
- Health Program Planning
- Evaluative Approaches in Public Health
- Research and Resources in Community Health
- Principles of Health Program Management
- Health Services Organization and Delivery
- Public Health Finance and Budget Management
- Public Health Law and Ethics
- Public Health Policy Analysis
- Evaluative Approaches in Public Health
- Select one course from cultural foundation series
- Field Experience
- Masters Thesis
You also have a non-thesis option that would likely require three elective courses totaling nine credit hours. The total credits for the thesis option are 44–46 credits and 48 credits for the non-thesis option.
After graduation, you are eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination. If you completed the Community Health Education – Health Management exam, or you are eligible to sit for the Certified Public Health examination (CHP).
The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. offers a competency-based exam that meets the national standards of accreditation. The fee for the exam is $55.00. The National Board of Public Health Examiners offers the certification for Public Health Nurses (CHP). This exam measures the individual’s understanding of contemporary public health topics. The cost of this exam is $385.
If you need financial assistance, complete a FAFSA application, which is a federal grant based on your income. The Rural Assistance Center offers awards, loan repayment program and scholarships. There is also the Nurse Corps program, which requires two years of working in their non-profit facilities to receive 60 percent of your outstanding education loans.
Clinical Nurse Specialists with a graduate degree and certification in New Mexico earned an average annual income of $97,990 in May 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you choose a Public Health Nurse degree, you will typically be working for one of the government health programs. CNSs most commonly work in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare settings. Getting your Clinical Nurse Specialist degree may offer you new job opportunities, help fill the nursing shortage in New Mexico and help expand the field of nursing as a whole.
Contact the New Mexico nursing schools with CNS programs for more information today.