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Become A Clinical Specialist

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Working As A Clinical Specialist

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $89,399

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinical Specialist Do

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

Duties

Registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides.

Registered nurses’ duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. For example, an oncology nurse may work with cancer patients or a geriatric nurse may work with elderly patients. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse works with children and teens who have cancer.

Many possibilities for working with specific patient groups exist. The following list includes just a few examples:

Addiction nurses care for patients who need help to overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances.

Cardiovascular nurses care for patients with heart disease and people who have had heart surgery.

Critical care nurses work in intensive-care units in hospitals, providing care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses and injuries that need very close monitoring and treatment.

Genetics nurses provide screening, counseling, and treatment for patients with genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

Neonatology nurses take care of newborn babies.

Nephrology nurses care for patients who have kidney-related health issues stemming from diabetes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, or other causes.

Rehabilitation nurses care for patients with temporary or permanent disabilities.

Registered nurses may work to promote public health, by educating people on warning signs and symptoms of disease or managing chronic health conditions. They may also run health screenings, immunization clinics, blood drives, or other community outreach programs. Other nurses staff the health clinics in schools.

Some nurses do not work directly with patients, but they must still have an active registered nurse license. For example, they may work as nurse educators, healthcare consultants, public policy advisors, researchers, hospital administrators, salespeople for pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, or as medical writers and editors.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). They provide direct patient care in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health or pediatrics. CNSs also provide indirect care, by working with other nurses and various other staff to improve the quality of care that patients receive. They often serve in leadership roles and may educate and advise other nursing staff. CNSs also may conduct research and may advocate for certain policies.

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How To Become A Clinical Specialist

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.

Education

In all nursing education programs, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. BSN programs typically take 4 years to complete; ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Many registered nurses with an ADN or diploma choose to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 or more years of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must be able to assess changes in the health status of patients, including determining when to take corrective action and when to make referrals.

Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions. Nurses need to explain instructions, such as how to take medication, clearly. They must be able to work in teams with other health professionals and communicate the patients’ needs.

Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when caring for patients.

Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.

Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given appropriate care.

Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.

Advancement

Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuous education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses can advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions are requiring a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication skills, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.

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Clinical Specialist Jobs

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Clinical Specialist Career Paths

Clinical Specialist
Medical Sales Representative Professional Representative Territory Representative
Area Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Clinical Manager Program Manager Director Of Sales
Area Sales Director
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Regional Director Regional Sales Director
Area Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Instructor Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Consultant Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Psychologist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Consultant Clinical Director
Director Of Clinical Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Service Director Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Specialty Sales Representative Territory Manager Sales Trainer
District Business Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Clinical Case Manager Clinician
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Liaison Nursing Director Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Sales Professional Specialty Sales Representative
Hospital Account Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Pharmacist Clinical Coordinator Nurse Manager
Inpatient Services Director
12 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Manager Program Director Home Health Aid
Patient Care Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Director Chief Technologist
Radiology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialty Sales Representative Sales Trainer District Business Manager
Regional Business Director
12 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Product Manager District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Clinician Therapist Occupational Therapist
Rehab Director
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Territory Manager Territory Business Manager
Senior Territory Business Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Clinical Specialist?

Clinical Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

68.9%

Male

29.0%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

4.1%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

72.1%

French

3.9%

Hindi

3.1%

German

3.1%

Russian

2.3%

Vietnamese

1.6%

Gujarati

1.6%

Italian

1.6%

Japanese

1.6%

Hebrew

1.6%

Estonian

0.8%

Marathi

0.8%

Somali

0.8%

Dutch

0.8%

Hmong

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Bengali

0.8%

Greek

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Malayalam

0.8%
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Clinical Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.6%

Walden University

7.6%

Grand Canyon University

5.6%

Northeastern University

5.3%

Capella University

5.0%

University of Central Florida

4.8%

Texas Woman's University

4.5%

Boston University

4.5%

Liberty University

4.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.2%

Temple University

4.2%

University of Florida

3.9%

University of Iowa

3.9%

Kaplan University

3.9%

University of Texas at Austin

3.6%

University of South Florida

3.4%

University of North Texas

3.4%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.4%

Ohio State University

3.4%

Webster University

3.4%
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Majors

Nursing

26.4%

Business

11.9%

Social Work

7.2%

Medical Technician

6.0%

Health Care Administration

5.8%

Psychology

5.4%

Biology

5.0%

Pharmacy

4.7%

Mental Health Counseling

3.0%

Counseling Psychology

3.0%

School Counseling

2.5%

Management

2.5%

Health Sciences And Services

2.5%

Physical Therapy

2.3%

Kinesiology

2.1%

Public Health

2.1%

Clinical Psychology

2.0%

Marketing

2.0%

Medical Assisting Services

1.9%

Medicine

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.8%

Masters

32.2%

Other

13.2%

Associate

7.5%

Doctorate

6.3%

Certificate

3.4%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.6%
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Real Clinical Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinical Specialist of Implantable Vascular Devices Corasol LLC Rockville, MD Nov 10, 2016 $155,650
Pharmacy Clinical Specialist St. Joseph Regional Health Center Bryan, TX Aug 15, 2016 $141,144
Pharmacy Clinical Specialist-Nights St. Joseph Regional Health Center Bryan, TX Dec 23, 2015 $140,670
Pharmacy Clinical Specialist-Nights St. Joseph Regional Health Center Bryan, TX Apr 27, 2016 $140,670
Pharmacy Clinical Specialist St. Joseph Regional Health Center Bryan, TX May 05, 2016 $139,298
Clinical Specialist Ivoclar Vivadent Inc. Amherst, NY Oct 31, 2013 $121,839
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Jul 14, 2014 $118,000
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Jan 21, 2014 $115,000
Senior Clinical Specialist, Crdm Medtronic, Inc. Mounds View, MN Nov 16, 2016 $113,006
Clinical Specialist The Methodist Hospital Houston, TX Jan 07, 2016 $112,478
Senior Clinical Specialist, Crdm Medtronic, Inc. Mounds View, MN Aug 29, 2016 $110,323
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Nov 01, 2011 $105,000
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Jul 23, 2012 $105,000
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Apr 01, 2013 $105,000
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Oct 01, 2013 $100,000
Senior Clinical Specialist St. Jude Medical S.C. Inc. Austin, TX Jun 06, 2016 $100,000
Assistant Clinical Specialist University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN Mar 01, 2012 $100,000
Clinical Specialist The Methodist Hospital Sugar Land, TX Jul 01, 2013 $99,000
Clinical Specialist The Methodist Hospital Houston, TX Jul 01, 2013 $99,000
Associate-Clinical Specialist BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc. Lorton, VA Jan 15, 2014 $96,142
Clinical Specialist Ivoclar Vivadent Inc. Amherst, NY Dec 19, 2012 $94,645
Senior Clinical Specialist Medtronic, Inc. Mounds View, MN Jul 09, 2016 $94,554
Pharmacy Clinical Specialist West Virginia University Hospitals Inc. Morgantown, WV Oct 01, 2015 $84,760 -
$107,890
Clinical Specialist Brainlab, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 27, 2014 $84,500
Senior Clinical Specialist MRI Interventions, Inc. Irvine, CA Feb 19, 2016 $84,157 -
$92,700
Clinical Specialist Ivoclar Vivadent Inc. Amherst, NY Sep 28, 2016 $84,136
Senior Clinical Specialist MRI Interventions, Inc. Houston, TX May 01, 2013 $83,554 -
$90,000
Senior Clinical Specialist MRI Interventions, Inc. Houston, TX May 06, 2013 $83,554 -
$90,000
Clinical Specialist Medtronic, Inc. Mounds View, MN Sep 07, 2013 $83,500
Clinical Specialist Medtronic, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Jan 09, 2016 $82,944

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Top Skills for A Clinical Specialist

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  1. Procedures
  2. Territory
  3. Patient Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist in the development and implementation of case management, utilization management and quality management policies and procedures.
  • Selected as Region Managed Care Point Person and provided individual territory analysis of top managed care plans to regional colleagues.
  • Performed hands-on patient care for allergy-related conditions, educated patients on antigen therapy medication, and formulated customized allergy shots.
  • Provide Clinical support with other territories including Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan.
  • Instructed and trained hospital staff throughout the United States on the proper use of ECRI's offered services.

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Top Clinical Specialist Employers

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Clinical Specialist Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Research Nurse by Sara S (Full Version)

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