Master of Science: Clinical Nurse Specialist

What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) are expert clinicians in a specialized area of nursing practice. They practice in a wide variety of health care settings. In addition to providing direct patient care, Clinical Nurse Specialists influence care outcomes by providing expert consultation for nursing staffs and by implementing improvements in health care delivery systems.

  1. Hospitals that employ CNSs have reduced hospital costs and length of stay, improved pain management practices, increased patient satisfaction with nursing care, and reduced medical complications in hospitalized patients.
  2. They provide expert consultation about complicated patients to health care providers.
  3. They mentor nurses.
  4. CNSs are the change agents for the organization.
  5. They are the Project Managers.
  6. The CNS leads the implementation to improve health care delivery systems.
  7. They trend the institutions data reports and develop programs to improve quality and safety issues.

CNS Curriculum


Application Period
MS Program, Fall 2015
October 15, 2014 –
February 1, 2015

NOTE: There are exceptions to these dates for RNs with a bachelors in another field and for the North Country program. Please see specific application periods for those programs on their respective pages.

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)