What’s your favorite part of being a nurse? Perhaps you enjoy spending time with your patients and you wish you could have more of a hand in their care and clinical plans. Or maybe your passion lies in life-changing research that can help practitioners develop new protocols to help patients. Leadership may be your forte, particularly if you’re a quick thinker and a great multitasker.
No matter what you love about nursing, you may be ready to take the next step in your nursing career by learning about clinical nurse specialist programs in Virginia. Contact the schools listed below to request CNS program information.
For many nurses, becoming a CNS can lead to an increase in demand and may boost your income. U.S. News claims that, in many markets, nurses with graduate degrees can write their own ticket to a new career. This is true in many different parts of Virginia, where health care can be difficult to come by for rural residents.
Learning about the steps involved in becoming a CNS can help you determine if this is the right career path for you. You need a Bachelor’s degree in nursing to be considered for admission, and furthermore, you must have a graduating GPA of at least 3.0. One year of nursing experience in critical or acute care can be beneficial, although specialized experience may be required if you want to go into certain paths of study.
This graduate-level degree requires you to complete between 30 and 50 credits of study, depending on which specialty you select and which school you attend. These courses cover the full breadth of nursing education, from leadership and research to clinical practice with different populations.
Your education should be divided into several sections. First, you may take core classes that schools require of all advanced nursing students. Classes that fit into this section include Applications of Research to Practice, Statistical Literacy and Reasoning in Nursing Research, and Theoretical Basis of Advanced Nursing.
From there, you may delve into courses that build your clinical skills, like Clinical Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment and Measurement, and Pathophysiological Basis for Advanced Nursing Practice. Toward the end of your education, you may take classes that are unique to clinical nurse specialists. These courses include Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Human and Family Development Through the Lifespan, and Evaluation in Health Care.
Looking into different types of financial aid may really pay off and help you avoid excessive student loan debt. Consider a variety of sources while earning your graduate degree. The Virginia Hospital Center awards scholarships to students of differing levels of education. The Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority, which is funded by the state government, financially supports students who are willing to work in underserved areas after graduation. The Virginia Department of Health also awards scholarships to nursing students.
Through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, you can obtain certification in your selected specialty. You must provide proof of your education and pass a comprehensive exam in your field of study. On a state level, clinical nurse specialist licensure goes through the Virginia Board of Nursing. You must keep your RN license valid during your education in order to qualify for licensure as a CNS.
According to CNN Money, clinical nurse specialists may enjoy a number of career benefits. Through the year 2022, a 26% increase in job openings is predicted. CNN Money notes that the average salary for a clinical nurse specialist is $86,500 per year.
Are you ready to work to your full potential as a nurse? Get started now—check out our schools list below and contact clinical nurse specialist programs in Virginia.