advanced practice nurses, certification, clinical nurse specialists



  1. Ares, Terri L. PhD, RN, CNS-BC


Purpose: This study explored the transition of clinical nurse specialists into new roles after completion of their graduate education.


Design: A quantitative longitudinal survey was used to measure certification, employment, career commitment, and the imposter phenomenon.


Methods: An online survey was sent to 113 participants from a previous national study that agreed to follow-up. The Student Nurse Anesthetist Experience Questionnaire and Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale instruments were used. Each case (N = 68) was matched with data from the primary study, and 2 comparison groups were formed based on employment status as a clinical nurse specialist.


Results: The advanced practice certification rate was 66.7%, and 48.5% were employed as a clinical nurse specialist. The employed group perceived more autonomy, a more positive view of the clinical nurse specialist lifestyle, and upset life plans if not able to practice in the role when compared with the not-employed group. Self-image was significantly different based on employment, but career commitment was not particularly strong regardless of employment status. The prevalence of imposter phenomenon experiences was 74.6% in this sample.


Conclusion: Recent graduates are struggling with their transition into practice as clinical nurse specialists.