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You sense within you a deep call for compassion and care. It’s a call to comfort. A call to serve. A call to love. It’s a call that spans the whole of the human experience—from birth to death and everything in between.

The call of a nurse is sacred. 

At Point Loma Nazarene University, we also believe nursing is sacred work. That’s why we provide you with the best knowledge and practices while also focusing on the spiritual and emotional side of caring for patients. We challenge you to make nursing care the best it can be for patients because this is work that deeply matters. If you have an MSN degree, earning your Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) certification can prepare you to do even more in the field you love.

A Strong Impact

When you become a Clinical Nurse Specialist, you will be prepared to advance the standard of care in your area of specialization. When you earn your CNS from PLNU, you will focus on the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of nursing and your specialty, preparing you to make a big impact on patients’ holistic care.

Close-knit Collaboration

Move through the program together with a small, diverse cohort of peers for continued encouragement and supportive friendships. Small classes allow for in-depth discussion and quality interactions with professors. You will also learn to care for yourself in order to better serve your patients.

A Healthy Future

The hands-on, evidence-based instruction, clinical hours, mentoring and networking opportunities through an extensive alumni group, and PLNU’s strong nursing reputation in San Diego set the stage for your continued career success after graduation.

The post-MSN certification programs are designed to prepare you to assume the role of Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). The program is designed for you as a working professional. Classes are held one night a week and every other Saturday. Clinical Nurse Specialist options are available in the following areas:

  • Adult/Gerontology Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Family/Individual Health

Accreditation: WASC, CCNE, BRN

Expected Completion Time

1 1/2 years

Program FormatClassroom
LocationLiberty Station Conference Center
Needed Units to Graduate

28 units if MSN not earned at PLNU
18 units if MSN earned at PLNU

Program Start Date

Fall 2016: August 29, 2016

Spring 2017: January 9, 2017

Cost

$715 (per unit) for the 2014-2015 academic year

Ready to get started?

Quality & Experience

Master of Nursing

The Center for Student Success and Career Development provides financial, academic, and career support for students, giving them the tools they need to be successful at PLNU and beyond.

Learn More

Program Outcomes

When you complete the Post-MSN certification program, you will be able to:

  • Inquire Faithfully: You will demonstrate knowledge, skill, and behavior of the evidence-based practice of nursing, which integrates growth in reasoning, analysis, decision-making, and the application of theory with the goal of advocating for others and/or self. This includes holistic nursing skills and the nursing process.
  • Lead Faithfully: You will incorporate a foundational relationship with Christ and others and embrace a willingness to serve others in the midst of life circumstances (e.g., illness, injustice, poverty). You will role-model the need for “Sabbath Rest” as a means for personal renewal, and true care of self, so that service to others is optimally achieved. You will incorporate the characteristics of a servant leader, including humility, courage, forgiveness, discernment.
  • Communicate Faithfully: You will actively engage in the dynamic interactive process that is intrapersonal and interpersonal with the goal of advocating for others and/or self. This includes effective, culturally appropriate communication that conveys information, thoughts, actions, and feelings through the use of verbal and nonverbal skills.
  • Follow Faithfully: You will integrate the ordinary work* by complying with and adhering to regulatory and professional standards (e.g., ANA Code of Ethics, The California Board of Registered Nursing, Scope of Nursing Practice, SON Handbook). This includes taking responsibility, being accountable for all actions, and treating others with respect and dignity.
  • Care Faithfully: You will embrace a calling to the ministry of compassionate care for all people in response to God’s grace, which aims to foster optimal health and bring comfort in suffering and death.

*Defined as claiming the challenge from Florence Nightingale that nursing is a “divine imposed duty of ordinary work.”

Program Prerequisites

  • MSN degree from a National League for Nursing (NLN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or regionally accredited program (i.e., WASC).
  • Current California licensure as a registered nurse.
  • At least one year of continuous full-time nursing experience in a United States healthcare facility.
  • Official transcripts - BSN and MSN All foreign transcripts must have a course by course evaluation by World Education Services that includes a degree equivalency and GPA.
  • A completed university application.
  • A completed School of Nursing graduate program application.
  • Two professional recommendations.
  • A personal essay of 250 words demonstrating graduate-level writing skills and the importance of graduate study to the applicant.
  • An interview with the graduate nursing selection committee.
  • Basic computer literacy, which includes knowledge of Explorer, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and the ability to perform an Internet database search.

NursingEnglish Language Requirements

A satisfactory command of the English language is required for admission to the Graduate School of Nursing. All applicants whose native language is not English must meet this requirement--including international applicants, permanent residents, immigrants, and transfer students who are not citizens of the United States on the date of admission. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the measure of competency. The test must have been taken within the past two years with minimum scores of:

  • 550 for the paper-based test
  • 80 for the Internet-based test with a minimum section requirement score of 20 in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Only the following countries are exempt from proof of English proficiency: Australia, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Other Provisions

To satisfy the requirements of the university’s clinical agencies, upon acceptance into the program students are required to provide copies of the following documentation:

  • Current California licensure as a registered nurse
  • Current Healthcare Provider CPR certificate from the American Heart Association
  • Completed School of Nursing Health Form Packet with proof of immunizations (the university only accepts copies of your official immunization record or paper documentation of titers)
  • Current TB screening (within six months) upon admission into the program
  • Current HIPAA certificate
  • Background check and drug screening (failure to pass this may result in an inability to complete the program)
  • Flu shot record
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Infection control quiz

Per agreement with the San Diego Nursing Service Education consortium and affiliated hospitals, a background check and drug screening is required prior to the student’s first clinical experience. If a red flag occurs from either the background check or drug screening, this may result in immediate dismissal from the program.

Important Dates

Program Start Date(s):

Fall 2016: August 29, 2016

Spring 2017: January 9, 2017

Priority Application Date(s):

Fall 2016: July 5, 2016

Spring 2017: November 1, 2016

All applications submitted after this date will be reviewed based on availability of space.

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand that your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it’s a reflection of you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a program. Your undergraduate and graduate GPA are important pieces of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0 or higher you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy per your particular program. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission under exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's post-MSN certificate program, you must have a baccalaureate degree and a Master of Science in Nursing from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by official transcripts. You must also have at least one year of experience in the CNS track in which you want to specialize. The post-master’s clinical nurse specialist program at PLNU offers the following tracks:

  • Adult/Gerontology Nursing
  • Family/Individual Health
  • Pediatric Nursing

Five hundred hours of practicum will be required.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  • Submit online application for admissions (includes $50 non-refundable application fee).
  • Fee waived if applicant is one of the following: PLNU alum, current or former military, PLNU employee. 
  • Submit official transcripts showing completion of MSN degree forma Natinal League for Nursing (NLN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or regionally accredited program (i.e., WASC).
  • Current California licensure as a registered nurse.
    • Official transcripts must be sent to: 
      Point Loma Nazarene University 
      Office of Graduate Admissions 
      3900 Lomaland Dr. 
      San Diego, CA 92106
    • Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to: 
      gradprocessing@pointloma.edu
  • Submit personal essay: 
    • General Concentration Essay Prompt:
      • Please describe in an essay of approximately 250 words why you are interested in pursuing this certificate at PLNU and what this program means to you personally and professionally. 
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist Concentration Essay Prompt: 
      • Please submit an essay of approximately 250 words that demonstrates graduate-level writing skills. Using the following websites: NACNS.org and ACNPweb.org, compare and contrast the role of a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner. Discuss why you chose the CNS role. 
  • Two professional recommendations.
  • Work Experience: 
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist Concentrations must have at least one year of experience in an acute care facility.
    • General Concentration applicants must have at least 6 months of experience in an RN role. 
  • After all application materials are submitted an interview with the Nursing Department is scheduled.

Exceptions Policy*: If you have below a 3.0 gpa in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

Financial Aid

The Center for Student Success and Career Development is committed to assist you throughout your educational journey. Your Student Services Counselor will walk you through your payment options, which may include federal student loans, grants, employer tuition reimbursement, military benefits, and the Tuition Installment Plan. We encourage you to reach out to your Student Services Counselor to learn about the financial opportunities available to you.

Still have questions? Our enrollment counselors are here to help.

Course List

GNSG 600 - CNS Role Acquisition (2)

This course will focus on the role of the clinical nurse specialist and the spheres of influence in quality initiatives and ethical comportment. Leadership aspects of quality monitoring, program planning and evaluation will be analyzed. A leadership role in ethical discussions at the unit, organization and/or system level will be explored. Additionally the student will work collaboratively to enhance decision-making. All specialties together. Not repeatable. Letter grading.

GNSG 605 - Advanced Assessment and Health Promotion Across the Lifespan (2.5)

This course provides a focused examination of health assessment across the human lifespan, focusing on the concepts of health promotion, disease prevention, and nursing care. Not repeatable. Letter grading.

GNSG 605L - Advanced Assessment and Health Promotion Across the Lifespan Practicum (0.5)

This laboratory course provides opportunity for application of nursing assessment and health promotion theory as it relates to advanced practice nursing role. Not repeatable. Graded Credit/No Credit.

GNSG 606 - Advanced Pathophysiology (3)

This course is designed to provide the student focusing on Nursing Education concentration or the CNS role with a comprehensive theoretical foundation of the phenomena that produce alterations in human physiologic function across the lifespan.

GNSG 607 - Advanced Pharmacology (3)

This course is designed to introduce the advanced pharmacology knowledge for registered nurses to practice at the advanced level. The course content includes principles of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics, pharmacotherapeutics, drug-drug, and drug-food interactions of broad categories of pharmacologic agents. The goal of the course is to prepare students with a well-grounded understanding of basic pharmacologic principles that are pertinent to the nursing specialty across the lifespan. Not repeatable. Letter grading.

BUS 688 - Healthcare Operations Management (3)

This course provides a basic framework for understanding and using concepts, practices, and tools of operations management in the healthcare industry. Topics include: healthcare operating systems, clinical process management and design, strategy and execution, process improvement and quality, problem solving and decision making, lean process improvement and statistical tools, patient flow, scheduling, forecasting and capacity management, supply chain, operational excellence, and principle-based system design. Prerequisite(s): None

GED 670 - Applied Psychology of Learning (3)

This course provides opportunity for application of research and theory with major attention devoted to the problems of learning, individual differences, and behavior.

Select one series of the following four clinical specialties courses (2) with practicum; a total of 12 practicum units are required in order to obtain the necessary 500 clinical hours for the CNS:

The CNS role practicum hours will allow the student to apply and master the role of the CNS within a variety of specialty specific clinical settings. A foundation of 500 clinical hours will be acquired.

GNSG 623 - Mental Health Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2) & GNSG 623L - Mental Health Role Practicum (1-3)

GNSG 623 - Mental Health Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2)

This course provides opportunity for exploration of advanced mental health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and the social sciences as it relates to individuals and groups with a focus on wellness and mental health promotion. 

GNSG 623L - Mental Health Role Practicum (1-3)

This practicum provides opportunity for exploration of advanced mental health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and the social sciences as it relates to individuals and groups with a focus on wellness and mental health promotion. Repeatable up to 12 units. Graded Credit/No Credit.

GNSG 624 - Adult/Gerontology Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2) & GNSG 624L - Adult/Gerontology Practicum (1-3)

GNSG 624 - Adult/Gerontology Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2)

This course provides opportunity for exploration of advanced health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and the social sciences as it relates to individuals with a focus on healthcare conditions associated with the young adult to older adult, including end of life. This course includes advanced theories of human development as it relates to the practice of nursing and education of clients as individuals or in groups. Not repeatable. Letter grading.  

GNSG 624L - Adult/Gerontology Practicum (1-3)

This practicum provides opportunity for exploration of advanced health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and the social sciences as it relates to individuals with a focus on healthcare conditions associated with the young adult to older adult, including end of life. This course includes advanced theories of human development as it relates to the practice of nursing and education of clients as individuals or in groups. Repeatable up to 12 units. Graded Credit/No Credit.

GNSG 625 - Pediatric Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2) & GNSG 625L - Pediatrics Role Practicum (1-3)

GNSG 625 - Pediatric Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2)

This course provides the opportunity for exploration of advanced health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and social sciences as it relates to the neonate through adolescence with an emphasis on family. This course focuses on growth and development and healthcare conditions associated with the pediatric patient. Not repeatable. Letter grading.

GNSG 625L - Pediatrics Role Practicum (1-3)

This practicum provides the opportunity for exploration of advanced health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and social sciences as it relates to the neonate through adolescence with an emphasis on family. This course focuses on growth and development and healthcare conditions associated with the pediatric patient. Repeatable up to 12 units. Graded Credit/No Credit.

GNSG 626 - Family/Individual Health Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2) & GNSG 626L - Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Role Practicum (1-3)

GNSG 626 - Family/Individual Health Nursing CNS Role Acquisition (2)

This course provides opportunity for exploration of advanced health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and social sciences as it relates to individuals, including child bearing women, within the context of the family and community. Not repeatable. Letter grading.  

GNSG 626L - Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Role Practicum (1-3)

This practicum provides opportunity for exploration of advanced health concepts with an emphasis on critical synthesis from nursing and social sciences as it relates to individuals, including child bearing women, within the context of the family and the community. Repeatable up to 12 units. Graded Credit/No Credit.

Total Required Clinical Hours (500)

Faculty

Dean & Professor
Dr. Taylor's passion is nursing and nursing education. She believes it is essential that nursing students understand the importance of the role that the nurse plays in healthcare today.
Assistant Professor
Dr. Sloan has both adult and pediatric experience and considers hematology/oncology and end-of-life her areas of expertise.
Dean and Professor Emerita
A native Californian, Dr. Crummy enjoyed teaching nursing at PLNU full-time from 1982 through 2006, when she retired as dean.
Associate Dean and Professor; MSN Program Director
Dr. Maiden is passionate about end-of-life issues, moral distress, and compassion fatigue within her profession.
Assistant Professor
Judy Scott is known for encouraging the new nursing learner to ask questions, think critically and integrate knowledge with new nursing practice.
Associate Professor
Teaching mental health allows Dr. Lambert the opportunity to share her passion for those dealing with mental illness with young nurses and in so doing, help to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
Assistant Professor
Professor Hensley has remained focused on direct patient care and the challenges that nurses face at the bedside.
Professor Emerita
First nursing position of the Arctic Circle at Kotzebue, Alaska - 500 miles north of Nome. Saved money to attend University of California for one year. Worked as a Registered Nurse in a variety of places including Recovery Room, Medical Nursing, Surgical
Associate Dean & Professor, Director of RN-BSN Program
Michelle Riingen has enjoyed a career as a nurse educator in both the university and acute care hospital settings. She is a board certified Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Adjunct Faculty
Paula Furseth in an adjunct faculty member with expertise in Adult/Gerontology Nursing.
Professor Emerita
Dr. Grendell taught full time at PLNU from 1982 to 2000.

Completion Requirements

Successful completion of all required program courses including:   

  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.000 or higher. A minimum grade of B- is required to progress in the program. Students with a lower course grade must meet with the course instructor and their academic advisor to determine the student’s ability to progress in the program.
  • All accounts paid in full.
  • All requirements for the program must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of initial enrollment in the program.

the_plnu_difference

Why PLNU? No matter which PLNU program you decide is right for you, you'll discover the hallmark PLNU experience is designed to give every student the clear framework and professional tools to stand out in his or her field.

Established in 1902, PLNU is located in beautiful San Diego. Our small class sizes, focused faculty attention, and convenient online offerings are just a few of the powerful ways PLNU delivers real value to every student, no matter which physical or virtual campus he or she chooses.

Post MSN CNS Certificate

Contact

Jordan Burner
Graduate Enrollment Counselor
jordanburner@pointloma.edu
(619) 563-2830