DNP Clinical Nurse Specialist Major

The Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), can have a significant impact on direct patient care and on both the effectiveness and efficiencies of health care systems across three spheres of influence: patients/clients, nurses, and systems/organizations. They diagnose, develop plans of care, treat, and provide ongoing management of complex patients. A CNS can prescribe medication, durable medical equipment, and therapies in many states. A CNS will also act as a consultant to other nurses and medical professionals, sharing their expertise in a particular specialty, a specific population, a type of illness, care setting, type of care, or disease. They are also able to identify and fill gaps in health care delivery, having the skills to design and implement interventions to improve delivery and outcomes. This type of practice is credited with reducing hospitalization costs and length of stays, lowering the number of emergency room visits, and increasing patient satisfaction. 

Studies consistently conclude that the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a valuable health care resource, providing high-quality clinical and evidence-based nursing practice. This type of APRN is much sought-after, as hospitals and health care systems seek to improve care quality while lowering costs. CNSs will be in demand for their abilities to enhance quality of care and promote cost effectiveness at hospitals, private practices and clinics, home health institutions, and long-term care facilities.

The CNS Program at Pitt Nursing

Becoming a CNS involves learning to interpret research and translate that knowledge into practice while working with fellow nurses to develop more efficient and effective protocols.

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists mandates the graduates must have achieved competency in direct care, consultancy, systems leadership, collaboration, coaching, research, and ethics. Coursework and hands-on learning opportunities in the DNP-CNS program cover care of patients and families in both acute and ambulatory settings. The three-year program includes courses from the APRN core including pathophysiology, advanced physical assessment, and pharmacology.  Additional coursework supporting the CNS role includes the science of health care delivery, organizational and management theory, grant writing, public policy, and ethics.  Additional course work focusing on the design and process of instruction and measurement and evaluation of curriculum is available for those working towards a clinical faculty appointment.

Two key components of the DNP program are clinical practicums and the culminating DNP project. Clinical experiences (a minimum of 1000 hours) take place in one of the world-class hospitals adjacent to the School of Nursing. Some of the clinical hours may be spent in educational settings, with Pitt faculty and/or hospital-based educators. The DNP project permits students to apply theoretical and practical knowledge gained from the three-year program to an actual problem or situation. 

At Pitt Nursing, we offer two concentrations within our CNS program:

BSN to DNP
(onsite only)

Post-Master's DNP

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialist

  • Adult-Gerontology (onsite and online) (the online option is only available to applicants with a master’s degree in same focus)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health (onsite and online) (the online option is only available to applicants with a master’s degree in same focus)

Degree Program Application Deadlines

Application for Admission

Clearances

Tuition and Fees
 
Beginning Fall 2017, out-of-state tuition rates for online cohorts will match the in-state rate

Accreditation Statement:

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation)
from 02/24/2014 through 12/31/2024