Clinical Nurse Specialist vs. Nurse Practitioner
Many people may think that clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners are one and the same. However, there are quite a number of distinct differences between the two with regards to their education and training, job description, and salaries.
They are basically registered nurses having advanced practiced and have attained a master’s or doctorate degree from accredited institutions. They have acquired specialization in one or two fields and have achieved clinical expertise to improve nursing practices and outcomes.
What’s the Difference?
Clinical nurse specialists are involved in direct clinical practice. No longer are they are reduced to mere assistants, but are active in advanced assessment of the patient’s condition. Moreover, they take charge of implementing nurse care as they see fit. They are also responsible for the evaluation of the results of the treatments the patient underwent. Being more experienced and knowledgeable than most practice nurses, they help nurses integrate new methods in the practice.More than that, they provide education and teaching skills to fellow nurses. As a matter of fact, a report released by Salary.com in February 2011 their annual salary. According to said report, their average annual salary is $87,800. The lowest annual salaries were at $73,400 while the top-earners can bring in as much as $102,550 annually.
Practical nurses are often responsible for observing patients, recording their reactions to medications and treatments, and reporting the results to the registered nurse or physician in charge. Practical nurses or nurse practitioners perform duties that may include giving injections, taking vital signs, performing basic diagnostic tests, observing patients, dressing wounds, and administering medication. They also assist patients in daily living activities such as eating, dressing, exercising, and bathing. They are often simply assistants to registered nurses and advanced practice nurse such as CNS. They usually work under the supervision of registered nurses, physicians, or dentists. Additional training is available to allow them to care for patients in specialized areas such as pediatrics, surgery, recovery, obstetrics, and psychiatry. They also work in various health care facilities that include hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices, mental health institutions, private homes, community health clinics, and public health departments. They also earn less as compared to CNS. Several salary reports show they can earn an annual income as low as $38,256, with only $73,791 for the highest-earners.
Indeed, these nursing practice are closely related jobs but are quite different from one another. It is clear that clinical nurse specialists perform much less menial jobs and are able to earn more, as compared to nurse practitioners.