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Nursing with a Difference through Clinical Nurse Jobs

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Nursing is a very important part of any healthcare system. Clinical nursing is a field included under the total nursing system. Clinical nursing jobs are carried out by Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), who are advanced practice nurses. These nurses must hold a master's or doctoral degree in a specialized area of nursing practice.

Qualifications to Apply for Clinical Nurse Jobs

Clinical nurse jobs are filled by Registered Nurses (RNs) after undergoing a Clinical Nurse Specialist program. Since clinical nurse jobs are for advanced practice nurses, their educational qualifications must not only meet the requirement for normal RNs, but must include some advanced qualifications also. Clinical nurses are required to hold a master's degree in nursing and to pass certification exams. Entrance to a master's degree program is only possible after one has obtained a bachelor's degree.

There are three ways to fulfill educational requirements to enter the field of nursing: earning a bachelor's degree in nursing, earning an associate's degree in nursing, or earning a diploma from an approved nursing school program. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required for all clinical nursing jobs; so even after obtaining an associate's degree or other diploma, some students choose to continue their education to receive a bachelor's degree followed by a master's degree.

Students opting for clinical nursing should expect to take a wide range of health-related courses during their training. Depending on their choice of degree program, these courses may include: State and National Healthcare Policy, Quantitative Inquiry Methods in Nursing, Qualitative Inquiry Methods in Nursing, Physiology and Pathophysiology in Nursing, Acute Illness Assessment and Treatment, and Advance Health Theory. The requirement for clinical nursing jobs also states that clinical nurses should continue their education throughout the course of their careers. After completing a CNS program, the candidate has to pass the normal licensing or certification exam from their respective state to be certified by a state licensing board.

Work Environment for a Clinical Nursing Job

Clinical nursing jobs are performed in area of specializations. These areas of clinical expertise may be in the following categories:
  • Population types: These specialize in providing preventive and acute care in all healthcare settings to the segment of the population in which they specialize including newborns (neonatology), children and adolescents (pediatrics), adults, and the elderly (gerontology or geriatrics).

  • Setting-related job types: These specialize in a work setting or type of treatment including ambulatory care, critical care, emergency or trauma, transport, holistic nursing, home healthcare, medical-surgical nursing, PeriAnesthesia, radiology, etc.

  • Disease or medical subspecialty: These specialize in a particular disease, ailment, or healthcare condition such as: addiction, intellectual and developmental disabilities, diabetes management, genetics, HIV/AIDS, oncology, ostomy, and continence.

  • Body organ specialty: This type specializes in the treatment of a particular organ or body system including departments like: cardiovascular, dermatology, gastroenterology, gynecology, nephrology, neuroscience, ophthalmic, orthopedic, otorhinolaryngology, respiratory, and urology. Nurses in this field are usually employed in hospital specialty or critical care units, specialty clinics, and outpatient care facilities.
In addition to the conventional nursing responsibilities which focus upon helping patients to prevent or resolve illness, a clinical nurse's scope of practice includes diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries, and/or disabilities within his/her field of expertise. Nurses in this advanced branch of clinical care provide direct patient care, serve as expert consultants for nursing staffs, and take an active hand in improving healthcare delivery systems.

Scope for Clinical Nursing

There are approximately 69,000 clinical nurse specialists in the United States practicing throughout healthcare delivery systems. The salary offered for clinical nurses ranges from $50,000 to over $100,000, depending upon the clinical specialty and geographic location in which the nurse is practicing. Some reported that clinical nurse specialists earned a median salary of $78,735 as of July 2008.

As with the whole healthcare industry, the job market for clinical nurse jobs is excellent. The current demand for CNSs far exceeds the supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the United States Department of Labor, job opportunities in all nursing professions are expected to expand by 14% in a decade. Nursing jobs with the highest levels of training and education, like clinical nursing jobs, will have the highest number of openings and hence the highest demand. Clinical nurses can find jobs in clinics, hospitals, and research facilities.
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