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Clin Nurse Spec. 2012 May-Jun;26(3):149-63. doi: 10.1097/NUR.0b013e3182503fa7.

The clinical nurse specialist in chronic diseases.

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  • 1Department of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada.



The number of individuals with chronic illness is growing at an astonishing rate because of the rapid aging of the population and the increased longevity of persons with chronic conditions. Nurses in clinical nurse specialist (CNS) roles are well positioned and ideally suited to meet the needs of a growing population with chronic diseases; yet, to date, there has been no critical review of the CNS in chronic diseases.


This article provides a critical review of the literature in order to better define and understand the CNS related to patients living with chronic illnesses (cardiovascular and oncology).


Using the guidelines of DiCenso et al (2005) for evaluating health services interventions, the literature was appraised in order to identify the characteristics of CNS roles, and the strengths and limitations of research about the effectiveness of CNS in chronic disease management.


Clinical nurse specialists with master's-level preparation provided high-quality and cost-effective care to patients with chronic diseases. The CNSs had a positive impact on patient, family, and healthcare team outcomes. Further evaluation of the CNS role in the research domain of practice is recommended.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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