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Clinical Nurse Specialists

CNA’s Pan-Canadian Core Competencies for the Clinical Nurse Specialist defines the core competencies required for safe, competent and ethical clinical nurse specialist (CNS) practice. The competencies, developed using a consensus-building approach that involved CNSs, nurse researchers, nurse regulators and nurses in leadership roles throughout the country, are transferable across diverse practice settings and client populations. As a result, the framework is fundamental to all CNS practice in Canada.

A CNS is a registered nurse (RN) with a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, extensive nursing knowledge and skills, and clinical experience in a specialty area. These newly defined competencies clarify the CNS role, demonstrate its contribution to the health-care team and facilitate the role being used to its maximum potential.

Because the CNS practice is dynamic, the competencies will change over time in response to population health needs, evolving practice and health-care environments. Within this process, we hope these competencies will serve as the natural foundation for role consistency and clarity across practice settings and jurisdictions.

Pan-Canadian Core Competencies for the Clinical Nurse Specialist
Pan-Canadian Roundtable Discussion Summary Report
Background Paper

Clinical Nurse Specialist Position Statement [PDF, 280 KB]

Profiles of Clinical Nurse Specialists

These personal stories show how CNSs use their extensive experience to meet the health needs of Canadians across the continuum of health care. CNSs integrate clinical, research, leadership, consultation and collaboration competencies into a wide variety of practice environments.

Marlene Del Pino

Clinical Nurse Specialist Our role is one of consultation, education and capacity building. Marlene Del Pino arguably has the ideal job for someone who wants…

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Martha MacKay

Martha Mackay

Clinical Nurse Specialist A career path that allows nurses to remain involved in clinical practice at an important and influential level is good for…

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Grace MacConnell

Grace MacConnell

Clinical Nurse Specialist I feel that clinical nurse specialists are often interpreters for children and their families as they try to navigate their way…

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Mary Driedger

Mary Driedger

Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical nurse specialists have the academic preparation, research skills and experience to be able to implement evidence-based…

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Margo Bettger-Hahn

Margo Bettger-Hahn

Clinical Nurse Specialist The clinical nurse specialist is a guide for you on your health-care journey – an expert practitioner who knows the system, helps…

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