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.