Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist

Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) are advanced practice registered nurses who ensure high quality nursing care through clinical expertise.

Program Information


Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who ensure high quality nursing care that is evidence-based and promotes patient safety, while improving patient outcomes and lowering health care costs. They plan this important role across a variety of specialties based on patient population, setting, condition or type of care.

Clinical nurse specialist FAQ

Support Courses

Students applying for a new certification must complete Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Physical Assessment Across the Life Span if the student has not yet taken them.

Clinical Experience

BSN to DNP students and MSN to DNP students adding a certification in a new specialty area must have two years of nursing experience in the area of Clinical Nurse Specialist prior to starting the clinical portion of their program.

Clinical Orientation

All students enrolled in the first clinical course are required to attend a mandatory virtual orientation online.

Clinical Affiliations

Specialty tracks within the College of Nursing’s graduate program require a practice component. Although faculty assists students in locating appropriate practice/clinical sites, it is the student’s responsibility to secure a site and preceptor if indicated. Students who are unsuccessful in being accepted by an agency in their home community may have to travel to another area to complete practice requirements. Please review the list of Clinical Affiliations on the College of Nursing Web Site. If there is not a clinical site listed near you or you are interested in a site not listed, negotiations should be initiated as soon as you begin the program through the Specialty Option Coordinator for your specialty.

DNP Residency

The program does not require a thesis or dissertation; however, students are required to complete an evidence-based scholarly project that has a substantial effect on health care and patient outcomes. Residency requirements for the scholarly project can be completed in the student’s home region with an approved mentor.


MSN-DNP for Advanced Nursing Practice Roles

Fall Entry

Spring Entry

MSN-DNP Adding New Certification in CNS

Fall Entry

Spring Entry


Fall Entry

Spring Entry


Please feel free to contact Dr. Chondra Butler for more information about this specialty: