Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Course Description

NURS 565: NURSE AS EDUCATOR (3 credits)
The focus of this course is on role development of the nurse as an educator. Emphasis is placed on preparing the student to perform effectively as a communicator of information which will enable the client to act as a responsible partner in his/her own health care. Recognizing teaching as an important clinical skill, this course engages students in formal inquiry into key components of patient education. Students have the opportunity to participate in the processes of needs assessment, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of education programs. Students conduct critical analysis of educational materials, apply research findings to patient education, and conduct a cost analysis of educational programs. The impact of legal issues, ethical dilemmas, and changes in the health care delivery system on patient education is discussed. Pre/corequisites: None. Spring and Fall semesters.
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NURS 607: ADVANCED HEALTH ASSESSMENT (3 credits)
This is the first course in the clinical advanced practice nurse (APN) series with a focus on advanced physical assessment, enhanced communication skills, and the reinforcement of health promotion and disease prevention across the life span. The course work and clinical lab activities enhance the student's history taking proficiency, physical assessment skills, critical thinking, and decision-making competency essential for planning, delivering, and evaluating health care in the population. Pre/corequisites: NURS 621. Fall semester.
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NURS 610: NURSING THEORY (3 credits)
This course focuses on the development of nursing science through the use of nursing theoretical frameworks. Students are guided in the examination of the development of conceptualizations and in the critique of concepts, theories, and boundaries for nursing study, as well as the implications for using theories of nursing and theories in nursing. Emphasis is on critical thinking, via description, analysis, and evaluation of nursing theory for application to practice. The importance of research to the continuing development of nursing theory as a method of building nursing's unique knowledge base is emphasized throughout the course. Pre/corequisite: Admission to Graduate Study or permission of course faculty. Fall semester.
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NURS 612: FAMILY NURSING THEORY (3 credits)
This course examines the contemporary family’s structure, function and process. Various theoretical frameworks and models are explored and applied to nursing assessment of and intervention with the healthy and high-risk family system in a variety of clinical settings. Students utilize a wellness approach to optimize health within a developmental framework and promote family resilience and adaptation throughout the life span.  Psychosocial, cultural, economic, gender, and spiritual variables and their impact on family life are analyzed. Pre/corequisites: None. Fall semester.
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NURS 613: INNOVATION IN INFORMATION, QUALITY, AND SAFETY (3 credits)
This course focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to manage information, promote quality and maintain safety across healthcare settings.  Collaborative and diverse opportunities to bring about improvement in healthcare are included.  The course combines evidence-based concepts from technology, information science, communication studies, organizational quality, and health care science in order to prepare clinicians to take an active role in transforming healthcare and clinical practice.   Emphasis is placed on the nurse’s active role in retrieving, interpreting, and sharing information to support an evidence-based clinical practice.
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NURS 616: ADVANCED NURSING RESEARCH (3 credits)
This graduate level course examines quantitative and qualitative nursing research methods, principles, and methods of measurement, as well as skills for critical evaluation of nursing research. Identification and analysis of research related to clinical practice and health care outcomes are included. Students develop skills and knowledge needed to review and recognize the strength of evidence and recommend practice changes if indicated. This course builds upon previous knowledge of the research process, critiquing of research, and understanding of the application of statistical findings. Pre/corequisites: None. Spring semester.
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NURS 621: CLINICAL PATHOPHYSIOLOGY (3 credits)
This course focuses on the causality of alterations in human physiologic function across the lifespan. Normal physiology and pathological phenomena produced by altered states of health across the lifespan are contrasted. The human physiologic responses to these altered states are related to pertinent diagnostic values, tests, and methods. This course serves as a basis for subsequent courses that deal with the clinical diagnosis and management of health problems. Pre/corequisite: Matriculated graduate status. Fall semester.
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NURS 626: LEADERSHIP FOR ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSE(3 credits)
This course focuses on the skills and knowledge needed by the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) to function in the role of a leader in health care. Emphasis is placed on the development of individual APNs as informed and collaborative leaders within the health care system who use current research based evidence in their role. Utilizing the nursing process, and leadership theory and organizational theory, students analyze the effectiveness of health care organizations and develop interventions to improve the organizational effectiveness. Issues related to the APN's role as an active participant in the legislation of health care policy are explored. Pre/corequisites: None. Fall semester.
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NURS 640: PHARMACOLOGY (3 credits)
An integrative approach to pharmacology is emphasized. The principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicology are presented. The characteristics of the major drug classifications and clinical practice implications are addressed as well as the legal and regulatory implications of drug administration and the essentials of prescription writing. The opportunity to explore related topics alone or in a group is provided, e.g., substance abuse, self-medication with over-the-counter drugs, drug therapy for pain management, drug therapy in a specialty area (maternal, pediatric, gerontologic health care), and alternatives to drug therapy. Pre/corequisite: Matriculated graduate status; NURS 621. Spring semester.
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NURS 650: INTRODUCTION TO CNS COMPETENCIES: PATIENT AND NURSING SPHERES (4 credits)
This course introduces the APN student to the advanced practice role of the medical-surgical clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in the delivery of health care to adults and their families within a specialty area. Emphasis is placed on competencies needed in the patient and nursing spheres. Individually designed clinical practica provide the student with the opportunity to choose and develop a specialty area as the student learns the process of becoming a CNS. Emphasis will be placed on developing a knowledge base in an area of specialty. Course work, classroom activities, and clinical assignments enhance the student's critical thinking and decision-making skills. Pre/corequisites: NURS 607, NURS 616. Spring semester.
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NURS 655: CURRICULUM AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT (3 credits)
This course continues the development of the knowledge and skills of the nurse as an educator. While the major emphasis is on the development of faculty for an academic role, the principles of course and program development are applicable for in-service, continuing education, and staff development educators as well. The role, competencies, and responsibilities of the educator in a variety of settings are explored. The process of program and curriculum development is examined in light of the ethical, legal, political, and economic forces and issues that have an impact on the educational process. The evaluation process includes the development of outcome criteria to measure the success of programs and curricula. Using seminar and other adult learning formats, students have the opportunity to develop educational course content and, at the same time, design, apply, and critique creative learning strategies that foster critical thinking and active participation. Pre/corequisites: NURS 565, matriculated graduate status. Spring and Fall semesters.
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NURS 665: EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION (3 credits)
This course is one in a series of three courses leading to a minor in education. Students focus on assessing, advising, and evaluating the learner from the time of admission to the completion of an academic program or other type of educational endeavor. A major emphasis is on exploring creative evaluation strategies, using various methodologies to determine learner performance in classroom, laboratory and clinical settings. The evaluation process focuses on test development, including the techniques for writing examinations, analyzing test items, administering and grading examinations, and ensuring interrater reliability as well as the reliability and validity of tests. As a culminating aspect of this course, students examine both the entrepreneurial role of the nurse educator and how to negotiate a job through the use of marketing and interviewing techniques. Students are given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills as educators by actively participating in seminars, other adult learning approaches, and practicum experiences. Individually designed practicum experiences allow students to gain a broader perspective on the educator role as well as to practice some of the skills of the educator. Pre/corequisites: NURS 565, matriculated graduate status. Fall and Spring semesters.
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NURS 670: CNS SELECTED PHENOMENA PATIENT AND NURSING SPHERES (4 credits)
This course focuses on selected phenomena of concern to all CNSs. The spheres of influence that are emphasized are the patient and nursing spheres. Individually designed clinical practica provide the student with the opportunity to apply nursing models and culturally appropriate evidence-based interventions to facilitate the well being of the client. Students continue to expand their expert knowledge base in a specialty area. Course work, classroom activities, and clinical assignments enhance the student's critical thinking and decision making skills. Pre/corequisites: NURS 640, NURS 650. Fall semester.
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NURS 675: ADVANCED CNS COMPETENCIES: ORGANIZATIONAL SPHERE ( 5 credits)
This course is the culminating experience in the development of the advanced practice role of the medical-surgical clinical nurse specialist (CNS). Theoretical concepts of organizational systems and health care policy and politics are applied to the advanced practice setting to identify and solve complex health problems. Higher level competencies necessary for the CNS are practiced that target the three spheres of influence. The student masters the process of becoming an expert in a specialty area. Individually designed practica in selected clinical areas provide the student with the opportunity to apply nursing models and culturally appropriate evidence-based nursing interventions to facilitate change within a system. Students continue to expand their expert knowledge base in a specialty area. Course work, classroom activities, and clinical assignments enhance the student's critical thinking and decision-making skills. Pre/corequisites: NURS 670. Spring semester.
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NURS 700: THESIS (3 credits)
Provides an opportunity to conduct independent research. It is the culmination of the research sequence with the application of research theory and process to a specific researchable problem related to nursing. Total of 6 credit hours granted in the final semester. Pre/corequisite: NURS 660. Fall, Spring or Summer semester.
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NURS 706-708: CNS Clin Proj I, CNS Clin Proj II, & CNS Clin Proj III (1 credit per semester)
The purpose of the project is to give the student an opportunity to improve competencies needed as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). The competencies include identifying and defining problems, applying change strategies, and evaluating the impact of APN practice. The project is designed to be completed in three semesters and to be above and beyond the work produced as requirements for any other course. However, it may be an expansion of course work. At the end of the spring semester (NURS 706: CNS Clinical Project I) the student will submit an approved proposal. At the end of the fall semester (NURS 707: CNS Clinical Project II) the student will present the project. At the end of the last semester (NURS 708: CNS Clinical Project III), the student will complete a scholarly paper. The course will be taken for 1 credit per semester as a P/F option.
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Application Deadline
MS Program
Fall Semester: June 1
Joyce Scarpinato, DNP,PNP-BC,FNP-C
Joyce Scarpinato, DNP,PNP-BC,FNP-C
Director of Master's Program
Ibrahim Thabet

After becoming an RN with an associate’s degree, Ibrahim Thabet said, “I felt that my journey was not complete. I decided to continue my education at Upstate Medical University because of the school's rich tradition of prestige.

I could not have imagined an easier transition.” Ibrahim achieved his goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner by earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Nursing.

—Ibrahim Thabet, FNP (2010)