Clinical Nurse Specialist

The Clinical Nurse Specialist: Adult/Gerontology Capstone Certificate at UW–Madison provides the education, training, and academic credentials that qualify you to sit for national certification.


Is this program right for you?

As health care systems and health-related challenges become increasingly complex, Clinical Nurse Specialists are uniquely prepared to have a positive impact. You can complete the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Capstone Certificate in Adult/Gerontology in just three semesters and develop the advanced skills and knowledge to contribute to the well-being of your organization and the patients in your care.

Our industry-focused curriculum provides you with knowledge of advanced nursing practice and the Clinical Nurse Specialist role through an emphasis on the three spheres of influence: patient care; systems of care; and the health care organization and nursing practice. Classroom assignments deepen your understanding, and supervised clinical practicum allow you to apply new knowledge and demonstrate increasing competencies.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist capstone certificate program from UW–Madison is aligned with educational requirements to sit for national Clinical Nurse Specialist certification through the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Is this program right for you?

As health care systems and health-related challenges become increasingly complex, Clinical Nurse Specialists are uniquely prepared to have a positive impact. You can complete the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Capstone Certificate in Adult/Gerontology in just three semesters and develop the advanced skills and knowledge to contribute to the well-being of your organization and the patients in your care.

Our industry-focused curriculum provides you with knowledge of advanced nursing practice and the Clinical Nurse Specialist role through an emphasis on the three spheres of influence: patient care; systems of care; and the health care organization and nursing practice. Classroom assignments deepen your understanding, and supervised clinical practicum allow you to apply new knowledge and demonstrate increasing competencies.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist capstone certificate program from UW–Madison is aligned with educational requirements to sit for national Clinical Nurse Specialist certification through the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Admissions Requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a master’s degree from an accredited nursing program.
  • Have current RN licensure in Wisconsin or eligibility to obtain licensure.
  • Have completed graduate courses (3 credits each) in advanced physiology, physical assessment, and pharmacology with a grade of B or better; physiology and physical assessment must be within the previous five years and pharmacology must be within three years. Evidence of current prescriptive authority granted through a state board of nursing will be accepted in place of graduate pharmacology.

To apply:

  • Online application to UW–Madison as University Special Student.
  • Transcripts.
  • Postgraduate education statement.
  • CV/Resume.
  • Photocopy of nursing license.

Applications accepted for fall enrollment.

Program Highlights

  • Earn your certificate of distinction in just three semesters, so you can return to your career quickly.
  • After completing our certificate, you are qualified to sit for the CNS qualification exam and enjoy the perks of being ready for a career that’s in high demand.
  • Our industry-focused curriculum provides in-depth knowledge of advanced nursing practices through an emphasis on the three spheres of influence: patient care, systems of care, and the health care system. You learn both in the classroom and in the clinic.

How You'll Learn

  • Students spend a full day on campus every other week for class meetings and two to three days per week in clinical placements.
  • Participate in a supervised clinical practicum that utilizes your advanced knowledge and integrates classroom learning in a practical setting.
  • Complete the program with a close cohort of peers and take advantage of collective experience and networking opportunities.

Sample Curriculum

  • Foundations for APN Clinical Practice I
  • Advanced Practice Clinical Application and Role Development I
  • Foundations for APN Clinical Practice II
  • Advanced Practice Clinical Application and Role Development II
  • Health Promotion/Illness Prevention in Diverse Communities

Job Outlook

Market Salary
$89K in 2018

Projected Job Growth
14.8% for Registered Nurses (2016-2026)

Job Postings
942 in 2018

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2019.
Burning Glass Technologies’ Market Salary is an estimated expected salary. Market Salary uses machine learning algorithms to account for experience, skill, and education among other factors that may impact individual salaries.

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