Role Transition After Clinical Nurse Specialist Education : Clinical Nurse Specialist

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Role Transition After Clinical Nurse Specialist Education

Ares, Terri L. PhD, RN, CNS-BC

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Clinical Nurse Specialist 32(2):p 71-80, 3/4 2018. | DOI: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000357



This study explored the transition of clinical nurse specialists into new roles after completion of their graduate education.


A quantitative longitudinal survey was used to measure certification, employment, career commitment, and the imposter phenomenon.


An online survey was sent to 113 participants from a previous national study that agreed to follow-up. The Student Nurse Anesthetist Experience Questionnaire and Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale instruments were used. Each case (N = 68) was matched with data from the primary study, and 2 comparison groups were formed based on employment status as a clinical nurse specialist.


The advanced practice certification rate was 66.7%, and 48.5% were employed as a clinical nurse specialist. The employed group perceived more autonomy, a more positive view of the clinical nurse specialist lifestyle, and upset life plans if not able to practice in the role when compared with the not-employed group. Self-image was significantly different based on employment, but career commitment was not particularly strong regardless of employment status. The prevalence of imposter phenomenon experiences was 74.6% in this sample.


Recent graduates are struggling with their transition into practice as clinical nurse specialists.

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