Macmillan CNSs are registered nurses, who have been educated to first degree level and have completed postgraduate learning or who are working towards postgraduate qualifications.
CNSs are clinical experts in nursing practice within a specialty area. The specialty may be focused on a population, such as young people; the type of care, such as palliative care; the type of problem, such as lymphoedema or a particular type of cancer, such as lung cancer (Excellence in Cancer Care: The Contribution of the Clinical Nurse Specialist, NCAT, 2010 [PDF]).
Macmillan CNSs provide leadership, innovation and expertise. This can be directly, when patients have highly complex care needs that require specialist assessment and care planning, or indirectly, by supporting and guiding others to provide care and support.
A CNS is required to maintain their specialist knowledge and skills and to be up-to-date with recent advances in research and practice development. Macmillan provides support for the CNS to maintain the highest level of practice through a number of resources and funding opportunities.
For further information and research about the impact of CNS posts, please see our CNS evidence review [PDF].