The Consultation Component of the Clinical Nurse Specialist Role

Maria-Helena Dias, Jane Chambers-Evans, Mary Reidy


The clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role in Canada has 5 key components: clinical practice, consultation, education, research, and leadership. This study focuses on the consultation component: how it is described by CNSs and the facilitators and barriers to its implementation. A qualitative descriptive design was used to interview 8 CNSs who worked with adult populations in a university hospital setting. The findings indicate that managing crisis situations, ensuring continuity of care, and supporting other health professionals and health-care teams are key areas of consultation. Role ambiguity perceived by other professionals and constant demands and expectations due to a changing environment constitute the major challenges of CNS practice, requiring CNSs to continuously clarify their role in accordance with changes in time and place.

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