The Role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Management of Rheumatic Disease

Clinical nurse specialist

The role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is to provide clinical expertise for evidence-based practice within the specialty of Rheumatology. Through autonomous practice they develop, implement and evaluate programs of care to maximize outcomes for patient-specific and rheumatologic populations. As direct care providers they complete comprehensive assessments, diagnosis and treatment plans for those with rheumatic conditions.

What Does the Clinical Nurse Specialist Do?

A CNS is an advanced practitioner who works in a particular specialty, for example, rheumatology. The CNS provides specialty care through:

  • Assessment of the patient
  • Education
  • Role modeling
  • Team building
  • Quality improvement and research
  • Leadership
  • Evidence based practice
  • Care coordination
  • And serves as a patient advocate

Where does the Clinical Nurse Specialist Work?

  • Hospital units
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Private practice
  • Rehabilitation centers and long-term care facilities
  • Home health agencies
  • Public health centers

What kind of training does the Clinical Nurse Specialist have?

  • A CNS is a registered nurse with advanced training at the master's or doctorate level
  • CNS educational curriculum contains courses in advanced health assessment, physiology, advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, advanced therapeutics and specialty preparation, as well as research methodology and utilization
  • Regulated by both state and federal laws, CNS’s are licensed as registered nurses in the states in which they practice


  • The National CNS Competency Task Force, (2010) Clinical Nurse Specialist Core Competencies: Executive Summary 2006-2008. Retrieved from: National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • American Nurses Association (2010) Scopes and Standards of Practice. (2nd Edition). Washington DC: Author.
  • DeNisco, S.M., & Barker, A.M. (Eds). (2013). Advanced practice nursing: Evolving roles for the transformation of the profession. (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnoses and treatment of a medical or health condition.