A comparison of practice domains of clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners

Linda L. Lindeke, Brenda H. Canedy, Margaret M. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This qualitative study was carried out to add empirical data to the discussion of the essentials of advanced practice graduate nursing education. Study participants were 15 nurse practitioners (NPs) whose original preparation was as clinical nurse specialists (CNSs). These nurses subsequently completed post-master's preparation as NPs at a midwest US school of nursing. The nurses were interviewed regarding similarities and differences between the NP and CNS roles based on their own experiences. They stated that their 1-year post-master's NP educational program broadened their knowledge base and increased their skills of direct data collection in history taking and physical examination. They described increased NP role autonomy and clinical decision making. Comparison of study results with the six practice domains of the National Association of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Curriculum Guidelines appeared to verify the NONPF domains as being operant in advanced nursing practice. Each role had distinct expression of the NONPF practice domains, particularly in two areas: management of client health-illness states and the professional role. Results suggest that advanced practice graduate nursing curricular content needs to be explicit regarding CNS and NP role domains to retain the respective strengths of each. A "hybrid" CNS/NP curriculum faces the danger of lacking both the depth and specificity of knowledge that has resulted in the roles' past successes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Advanced practice
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Practice domains


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