About the CNS-CP

We offer this credential to recognize the important role CNSs have in promoting optimal perioperative patient outcomes.

  • Promotion of patient safety
  • Expert guidance and support of nurses and other members of the perioperative team
  • Facilitating the use of evidence-based practice
  • Reducing costs through the design, implementation, assessment, and evaluation of perioperative interventions
  • Recommending innovative solutions to identified gaps in health care delivery systems

Specialty certification helps bridge the gap between initial certification as an APRN and specialty practice.

  • Validates perioperative competency at an advanced practice level
  • Positions the CNS for future developments in advanced practice
  • Meets Consensus Model guidelines


Check Your Certification Eligibility

Education Requirements

Candidate must meet one of the two requirements:

  1. Successful completion of an accredited* graduate, post-master’s certificate, or doctoral program in nursing which has prepared the applicant for the CNS role. The program must contain core courses (advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment), population-specific classes, and a precepted 500-hour clinical practicum in the CNS role, OR
  2. A master’s, post-master’s certificate, or doctoral degree in nursing from an accredited CNS program along with documentation of serving in an advanced practice role may be accepted in lieu of graduating from a program which did not include core courses and the precepted 500- hour clinical practicum.

*Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

Licensure Requirements

Candidate must meet one of two requirements:

  1. Hold a current, full, unrestricted license (RN and/or APRN) in the United States, OR
  2. Hold a current, full, unrestricted RN license with recognition as a CNS by a state board of nursing.


Experience Requirements

Candidate must meet one of the two requirements:

  1. If enrolled in a CNS program with current accreditation standards*, the candidate may begin work on the CNS-CP Professional Portfolio project prior to graduation. The project must be completed after the CNS degree has been conferred, OR
  2. If graduated from a CNS program prior to implementation of these standards, candidate must validate 2,400 hours and 2 years as a practicing CNS in the perioperative setting.

* Program must include advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, physical assessment, role-specific classes, and a precepted 500-hour clinical practicum

Additional Requirements
  • Have completed a minimum of 2 years and 2,400 hours of experience in perioperative nursing, with a minimum of 50% (1,200 hours) in the intraoperative setting.
  • Be currently employed as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the perioperative setting.


Portfolio Overview

The CNS-CP Professional Portfolio is a mechanism for demonstrating advanced levels of knowledge and skills in perioperative practice. The hallmark of a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in the perioperative setting is to assist in managing the care of complex surgical patients. The portfolio is therefore based on a project whose purpose is to promote quality patient outcomes.

Professional Portfolio
Project Subject Areas

Project Subject Areas

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Get Prepared

CNS-CP Resources

CNS CP Handbook

CNS-CP Handbook

The complete guide on the CNS-CP credential including eligibility requirements.

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CCI Staff Support

CCI's nursing staff is available to answer questions about eligibility or the portfolio process.

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Apply for CNS-CP Certification

Start your path to certification by applying for the CNS-CP credential. Learn more about the application process, credential components, and benefits to CNS-CP certification.