advanced practice nursing, clinical nurse specialist, competencies, registered nurse



  1. Espinoza, Pilar PhD, RN
  2. Troncoso, Bernardita CNS, RN
  3. Jacobson, Lauren WHNP-BC, RN
  4. Schober, Madrean PhD, RN


Purpose/Aims: The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions that experienced and highly specialized nurses have of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role through description of the registered nurses' (RNs') experiences.


Design: This study used a qualitative descriptive design.


Methods: Interviews were conducted with 6 RNs (2 managers, 1 chief nursing officer, 2 educators, and 1 clinician) and 32 RNs who participated in 5 focus groups. Participants were purposively sampled from intensive care units and emergency departments from 4 public and private hospitals. The analysis of the narratives and field notes used thematic content analysis.


Results: Common aspects of the CNS competencies and the experienced RN were recognized. These included direct patient care, assessment, and mentoring, with important differences in management, research, and coaching competencies.


Conclusion: The findings could facilitate the development of a master's program for the CNS in Chile. Formally recognizing the skills and clinical experiences of expert RNs may motivate nurses to pursue a master's degree that prepares them for advanced practice.