Skip to main content

What does a Clinical Nurse Specialist do?

Nursing is one of the most vital fields in existence. While doctors may make diagnoses, prescribe medications and devise treatment regimens, it is nurses that make it all happen. They are the ones most responsible for the actual tracking of a patient’s condition and the hands on care that patients receive.

Within the nursing field, as with any technical field, there are many levels of expertise. Those that attain the highest levels of education and skill are known as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. The ANA (American Nurses Association) defines a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) as “A nurse who is an expert in a defined area of knowledge and who practices in a selected area of expertise.” In simpler terms, this means that a Clinical Nurse Specialist is someone who has already qualified as a Registered Nurse (RN) and then has gone on to specialize, just as some doctors do, in the care of and issues surrounding a particular type of patient or disorder.

clinical nurse specialist

Some of these specialties include:

  • Community Health
  • Gerontology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry
  • Women’s Health
  • Acute Care
  • Adult and Family Care
  • Neonatal and Pediatric Care

Within these specialties a Clinical Nurse Specialist may perform all of the duties that you would expect of a nurse, but in addition to their traditional role may also act as a:

  • Treatment Coordinator
  • Researcher
  • Educator
  • Consultant
  • Clinical Expert

In fact, many times, in cases that involve a high degree of interdisciplinary treatment, it is actually a Clinical Nurse Specialist that has overall responsibility for the patients’ treatment rather than any of the attending physicians.

As can be imagined, a field that carries the great responsibility that a Clinical Nurse Specialist enjoys is not simple to enter. You must first work your way up the ladder of nursing beginning as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Then receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This will qualify you to take the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses). Pass this exam and you will become an RN. Once you have qualified as an RN you will need to continue your education, completing a master’s program, preferably a Master of Science in Nursing and then continue your education in your desired specialty.

Though a difficult field to enter, the overall benefits make becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist well worthwhile. Clinical Nurse Specialists enjoy a very high salary rate compared to most fields and, with a rate of demand that is increasing every year, it is one of the most secure job fields available.

What does a Hospital Administrator do?

If you are interested in a career helping others and improving community health, but prefer administrative work to hands-on clinical care, the role of hospital administrator might be the perfect professional path for you.

hospital administrator

Hospital administrator: typical duties and responsibilities

A hospital administrator is a management professional that is charged with the task of the administration and oversight of the operations of a hospital or another large health care facility. In most facilities, there are hospital administrators in charge of every aspect of operations, ranging from patient nutrition to medical records and beyond.

On a day-to-day basis, a hospital administrator engages in activities such as personnel management, recruiting, career development, strategic planning, documentation and record keeping, budgeting and accounting, communications, interdepartmental meetings, and operational oversight of a particular process or department.

Career path and opportunities for advancement in administration

There are a broad range of educational degrees that those interested in a career as a hospital administrator may choose to pursue to boost their chances of success and rapid advancement in the field. Many vocational colleges offer courses or short certificate programs in topics such as medical record keeping or health care management. For those with executive ambitions, degrees in health care management or health care administration are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, or even doctoral level.

Entry-level jobs in the hospital administration field are often clerk or technician positions in a hospital setting. With the accumulation of on-the-job experience or after pursuing additional education in the field, you may become eligible for supervisory jobs or management-track positions. If you are interested in pursuing a high-level position as a hospital administrator, you will likely have to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field and accumulate at least five years of directly applicable work experience.

Hospital administrator’s career outlook and salary estimates

As the population continues to grow and age, the demand for health care is likely to increase, which in turn will lead to increasing opportunities for hospital administrators and other health care managers. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the prospects for health care managers are likely to be good in the future, with the best opportunities available to applicants with field-specific experience and education. It is projected that the number of jobs available in the field of medical and health care managers will grow by 16%.

Translate your passion for helping others into a lucrative and fulfilling career. Explore the opportunities in the hospital administration field today!

What does a Medical Assistant do?

The medical field is not solely comprised of doctors and nurses. Nearly 4 million professionals currently enjoy careers in health care support occupations, without the time and expense required to complete medical or nursing school. These individuals typically work in a physician’s office or hospital and are responsible for any number of areas, from administration to pharmaceuticals to finance.

One such position is the role of medical assistant. With job prospects deemed “excellent” over the course of the current decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants will remain in high demand.

medical assistant

Career outlook

There are currently more than half a million medical assistants in the US, and that number is only expected to increase over the next seven years. Job growth was projected at 34 percent.

Jobs in this field are projected to grow much faster than average; such a positive outlook is the result of impending changes to the health care system, the aging population, and technological advancements in medicine. Ultimately, in the near future, physicians may be tasked with attending to more patients in the same amount of time as they previously had, and their assistants will play a key role in making that possible.

Major job requirements

Whether they work in a physician’s office, hospital, university or outpatient care facility, medical assistants enjoy a balance of clerical work and clinical work. They assist with administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments, taking patients’ medical histories, filing insurance forms, and handling bookkeeping and billing. They often greet patients, take their vital signs, prepare them for procedures like X-rays and MRIs, change dressings and prepare examination rooms for the next patients.

Educational requirements

Medical assistants perform a wide range of duties. As a result, their educational requirements look like a combination of a pre-med student’s course list and an office manager’s training program. Typically, only a high school diploma is required, but because of the expanded job opportunities and earning potential that comes with additional training, most complete 1- or 2-year programs. It can also help to volunteer in the field in order to gain valuable experience and free on-the-job training. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) programs are available through the American Association of Medical Assistants and can help set skilled, experienced candidates apart from the rest.