clinical, clinical nurse specialist, mentorship, preceptor, preceptorship, student, recruitment



  1. Fischer-Cartlidge, Erica DNP, RN, AOCNS, EBP (CH)
  2. Short, Kathleen MSN, CNS, AOCNS


Background: The future of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role depends on nurses enrolling in CNS programs and having access to clinical experiences. At 1 institution, challenges with CNS recruitment and variations in how students were precepted were noted. This article describes a successful CNS student program and its value in creating a talent pipeline.


Project: A revision to student placements was initiated to create a formalized program including enhanced academic partnerships, standardized expectations and goals, assigned clinical projects and end-of-semester presentations, appointment of a student coordinator, and structured preceptor preparation.


Outcomes: Outcomes included 100 placements for 50 different students; the primary source of recruitment for the organization is now prior students, with 17 being hired since program inception. A 325% increase was also noted in qualified preceptors. Student productivity increased, and 11 students were accepted for national presentations. Academic sites have reported increased satisfaction.


Conclusion: Organizations looking to increase CNS recruitment should consider the revision of their student program. A centralized CNS responsible for student experiences can ensure standardization and provide preceptor support. The CNSs have an essential role in securing their future nationally and can do so through growing new talent and aiding in preparation for practice.