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Why I Became a Clinical Nurse Specialist: An Interview with Erica Granados

Published on: August 23, 2021

A special thanks to Erica Granados, MSN, RN, a graduate of the University of San Diego's Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (MSN) program, for taking the time to share her story about pursuing a career as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Tell us a little about yourself! How long have you been a nurse? What area of nursing do you work in?

I have been a nurse for 13 years. I recently became the Professional Development Specialist of the nurse residency program at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Previously, I was the Clinical Nurse Specialist for the surgical ICU at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Before that, I was a critical care frontline RN for 9 years. I am passionate about nursing ethics— I participate in Sharp’s peer-to-peer support program and sit on the Bioethics Committee. 

What interested you in pursuing a career as a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

In my clinical RN position, I was involved in (and chaired) several nursing committees. It gave me so much joy to work closely with other nurses on projects that improved processes and patient outcomes. When I decided to I wanted to get a master’s degree in nursing and pursue an advanced practice degree, I turned to USD. Their Adult-Gerontology CNS program was exactly what I was searching for. 

What attracted you to the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program at the University of San Diego?

Other schools offer dual NP/CNS programs. I loved that USD's program focused exclusively on the Clinical Nurse Specialist. 

Additionally, when I was looking at CNS programs, two USD instructors were especially intriguing me: Dr. Kate Stacy and Dr. Linda Urden. They are both authors of the Critical Care Nursing book that I had lived and breathed since becoming a critical care nurse 10+ years ago. What a privilege it was to learn from them! 

Interested in improving the delivery of health care? Discover  USD's Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program! 

What did you enjoy most about the program? Were there any standout experiences?

The classes were small and personable. The professors were fantastic and passionate!

Erica Granados
I learned so much during the course of the program, including how to create a nursing education curriculum, how to design simulation training, and how to improve patient outcomes through evidence-based practice and process improvements.

- Erica Granados, Adult-Gerontology Clinical Specialist (MSN) alumna

 The list of standout experiences is endless. Now, I feel so fortunate to be contributing in a meaningful way to health care and nursing. 

How has the program helped advance your career? What skill did you gain?

USD's Adult-Gerontology CNS program has helped me in so many ways. Through clinical rotations, I experienced how other hospital organizations practiced and utilized (or underutilized) CNSs. 

Before graduation, I was offered the position of CNS for the surgical ICU at Sharp Memorial Hospital. From working in the surgical ICU to managing the nurse residency program, my career is reflective of how well the program prepared me. 

If you could give a piece of advice to someone considering pursuing an MSN degree at USD, what would it be?

If you have the opportunity for graduate nursing education, GO FOR IT! Don’t let your fears or the cost deter you. USD has numerous scholarship opportunities and your work may also help pay for it through tuition reimbursement. Not only is it feasible, but it’s absolutely worth it.

A Guide to the University of San Diego's Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Program

The University of San Diego's nursing program ranks among the best in the nation. But that's not the only reason future students walk through our doors to pursue one of our graduate degrees. Download our guide for an in-depth look at the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program and learn how our rich heritage of excellence in nursing education can help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

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A Guide to Achieving the Master of Science in Nursing at USD

For future Executive Nurse Leaders, Nursing Informaticists, or Adult-Gerontology CNSs.

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