How to Become a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

If you are a registered nurse who loves working with children, consider pursuing higher education to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in pediatrics. Becoming a CNS in a specific area of expertise like pediatrics requires completing a Masters or Doctoral program and passing a national licensing examination. There are many subspecialties within the area of pediatric nursing based on the age of patients and focusing on specific areas such as nutrition, social work and acute care.


    • 1

      Decide what pediatric nursing area you want to specialize in. Some of the many subspecialties include neo-natal care, oncology or those areas that deal with chronically ill patients or a specific disease. The specialty you choose will influence the training program you select.

    • 2

      Select a CNS training program. There are numerous programs available nationwide that include both scholastic and clinical training. Choose a program that is geared to your specialty based on your circumstances: programs can be completed in two years with full-time study, in three years of part-time work and online at your own pace and from any geographic location.

    • 3

      Gain the required experience. Individual specializations may have different requirements. For example: a neonatal pediatric CNS will need to have a minimum of one year recent experience in an acute care environment that provides that kind of care. This area of expertise is extremely competitive and programs can be difficult to get into, so plan ahead.

    • 4

      Join the American Nurses Association. The ANA offers a wide array of student resources to help nurses in their journey.

    • 5

      Complete the national licensing examination. Once you obtain your degree as a CNS, you will be required to take and pass a test to obtain the proper credentials to practice.

    • 6

      Visit the National Clinical Nurses Association Career Center to help find positions once you obtain your degree and certification.

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