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clinical nurse specialist orientation, CNS mentor, CNS preceptor, CNS spheres of practice, orientation tool



  1. Urden, Linda D. DNSc, RN, CNS, NE-BC, FAAN
  2. Stacy, Kathleen M. PhD, RN, CNS, CCRN, PCCN CCNS


Background: Both novice and experienced clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) need a consistent orientation to ensure that all in the role have the same knowledge base from an agreed upon set of role expectations.


Purpose: The purpose of this article was to describe an orientation process using the 3 spheres of CNS practice as the framework for a CNS competency validation tool that can be used in all practice specialties and settings. Additionally, the roles of CNS preceptor and CNS mentor are delineated.


Conclusions: The orientation tool based on the spheres of influence provides a thorough and consistent orientation for CNSs and may also be used as an educational tool for leadership and other staff regarding the CNS role.