September 11, 2003

The College of Nursing at Montana State University-Bozeman is now offering a Clinical Nurse Specialist program for advanced nursing education.

The program offers two specialties: community/public health nursing; and care of adults with complex acute and chronic health problems.

Launched with nearly $1-million in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the program is designed to provide three years of part time study leading to a master's degree and eligibility for the relevant certification exams. The program will be provided by distance delivery and can be accessed via any of the College of Nursing's campuses in Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls and Billings. It's also available at Carroll College in Helena.

"The scope of nursing practice expands at this level," explained interim College of Nursing Dean Jean Ballantyne. "The clinical nurse specialists have more responsibility for the overview of patient care, health care programs in communities, and are eligible for prescriptive authority."

Both specialties address heath-care needs in Montana, Ballantyne noted. Community health issues such as West Nile virus and SARS are growing and can be managed in part through clinical nurse specialists. What's more, the state's aging rural population will require more ongoing care for health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension, hence the emphasis on training highly skilled nurses in the care of chronic conditions.

To be eligible for the new program, applicants must already have a bachelor's degree in nursing and should be licensed as registered nurses in Montana. Applications are being accepted now, with a deadline of February 15, 2004.

To request an application packet or to find out more information, please contact the MSU-Bozeman College of Nursing at (406) 994-3500.

The clinical nurse specialist is one of four types of advanced practice nurses in Montana. The others are nurse midwife, nurse practitioner and certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Contact: College of Nursing, 994-3500

MSU News Service - Annette Trinity-Stevens