Master of Science in Nursing Program

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist

Fall Open House

The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) program at the University of San Diego prepares nurses for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) role as an expert in the care of adults across a variety of health care settings such as hospitals and clinics, as well as their own private practice. Advanced practice as a CNS involves practicing nursing within the three spheres of influence (patient, nurse, organization system) in order to operationalize five CNS role components: expert practitioner, educator, consultant, researcher and clinical leader. As expert practitioner, CNSs provide direct and indirect care to specialized populations. As educators, CNSs teach patients, families, staff nurses, students, and communities regarding health. As consultants, CNSs assist with problem solving regarding patient care including facilitating support groups and establishing health care programs. CNSs also assist with research and promote research dissemination and evidence-based practice in the practice arena. As clinical leaders, CNSs are responsible for program development, quality improvement processes, and managerial operation and activities.

CNS students at USD are able to focus in different areas of adult-health such as critical care, emergency, medical-surgical and palliative care.  In addition, students may take elective courses in nursing education theory and teaching practicum as well as health care informatics.

Graduates are eligible for certification as Clinical Nurse Specialists in the State of California and for national certification by as Adult Health/ Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).

Total Units: 44

If you have any questions about the Adult-Gerontology CNS program, please contact Cathleen Mumper, Director of Student Services, at (619) 260-4548 or

Julie Graham, MSN, CNS

"During my time in the Clinical Nurse Specialist program at USD, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the most well respected and well published Clinical Nurse Specialists in the country. This privilege, in the context of a campus rich in beauty & rich in individualized, caring academic support, contributed to an environment of learning, community, and professional development that was well worth the investment. I wouldn't trade it for the world!"-Julie Graham, MSN, CNS

Contact Information

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 260-4548