Who are Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)?
A CNS is a nurse either educated to a postgraduate degree level and/or has significant experience in managing and caring for a particular disease type or patient group.
The general responsibilities of a CNS are: providing emotional and physical support for patients, co-ordinating patient care, delivering patient care, educating other staff members, and acting as a patient advocate.
Why do they matter?
Our latest report, ‘My CNS Matters: The invaluable role of a Clinical Nurse Specialist’, highlights findings from our 2016 patient experience survey that demonstrate the improvements that a CNS add to patient experience.
Some of the key findings are:
Clinical Nurse Specialists can help leukaemia patients to feel more positive, improve understanding at each stage of the cancer journey and ensure that patients are supported.
The value that a CNS adds to leukaemia patient care echoes that across all cancers. This is why in 2015 NHS England made the target of ensuring all cancer patients have access to a named key-worker – usually a CNS.
We identified that out of 2,019 leukaemia patients only 38% said they had access to a CNS. Additionally, we found that there are huge variations across the UK ranging from 30% access to 50% access.
At Leukaemia Care we want to see CNS access reaching the targets of 100% and have made three recommendations for achieving this:
1. Ensuring that patients are introduced to their CNS from diagnosis.
2. Increasing the specialisation of Clinical Nurse Specialists.
3. A general improvement in nursing staff levels across the NHS.
Download our ‘My CNS Matters: The invaluable role of the clinical nurse specialist’ report here.
Michael was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and from the point of diagnosis was given a CNS, who he couldn’t thank enough.
Read his story here.
10 years ago, Sandra was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and spent a lot of time in hospital. She couldn’t thank the nurses enough as they made her time more bearable.
Read her story here.
In 2010, Frank was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). At the point of diagnosis, Frank was only given the information he needed when he was given a CNS.
Read his story here.