There’s a wide variety of advanced degree options within nursing. One example is the role of a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), who works collaboratively to improve the quality of patient care, and helps achieve desired patient outcomes in a designated population or specialty practice. The CNS functions as a leader within the three spheres of influence (Patient/Client, Nurses and Nursing Practice, Organization/System), and is an active participant in the collaborative practice framework. The education requirements to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist, include a Master’s degree focused in this area and be nationally certified.
Lesia Mooney, a Neuroscience Clinical Nurse Specialist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, works with cerebrovascular patients. Lesia became a nurse after caring for two family members with terminal illnesses. At that point she realized she wanted to help others and make a difference in patients’ and families’ lives. As she grew professionally with Mayo Clinic’s support, she decided to obtain her Bachelor's degree in Nursing (BSN) and a Master’s with a focus in Advance Practice Nursing. She did not want to lose the focus of nursing/patients/families and really enjoyed the educational component in nursing, so this track fit her professional goals.
Most recently, Lesia has been called “Ms. Certified” by a patient, who noticed her certified credentials on her badge when she was doing rounds. She was able to provide in-depth education to this stroke patient, who was involved in research and was discharged into rehab. Lesia adds, “As a specialty nurse, I felt I made a difference in this family’s life with the support of my team members! This was a very rewarding experience that made my day!” Her experience and education, allows her to provide care to stroke patients, including those suffering from ischemic, hemorrhagic and transient ischemic attacks. She rounds with the Neurologist providing transitional care - following patients through their hospitalization, ensuring education has been provided and promoting research opportunities, while helping with patient discharge and follow-ups.