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Clinical nurse specialist: What I do and how much I make

Alden Egan, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, earns $125,000 annually in Los Angeles. His role involves educating nurses, running patient orientation classes, and working with hospital leadership. He finds satisfaction in making a difference, especially when his efforts are recognized by patients and colleagues.

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Video transcript

My name is Alden Egan, I'm 31 years old. I'm a Clinical Nurse Specialist, and I make $125,000 a year. So I've only been a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a year, but my income is very competitive, especially for that amount of experience. Los Angeles pays very well for this role. If I lived somewhere else in the country, I would probably make about $100,000 a year, or possibly less. One of the main things that I do is provide education to nurses, that could be on new equipment, on skills, or knowledge that they need to upkeep in order to provide good quality patient care. I run a new patient orientation class. I get to meet with all of our new patients, and teach them about what it's like to launch into their cancer treatment here, and give them a lot of information about available resources and other things that will help them along their journey as they're getting their treatment. And then, I finally get to work a lot with the hospital leadership. In that role, I serve as a representative for nursing practice, and get to speak to how different hospital initiatives will either impact nursing, or ways that nursing can help them to reach their various goals. My worst day on the job would be when I recognize what the right thing to do is, and for whatever reason, there's barriers in making that happen. Working in a large organization, change can be very difficult, and it can be very slow. (laughs) And so that can be really frustrating, when you just want things to be right. My best day on the job would be when I feel like I really made a difference. From a nurse telling me that I really helped them to understand something, or that they were really happy that somebody finally addressed this certain need that they had. This is probably the best thing, is when a patient gives me feedback that what I did made a difference to them. I recently got a compliment from my new patient orientation class, from a patient, a patient's son who attended, and he said that although they had been coming for over a month, he still learned so many things that he knew were going to be useful to him and his mom, and that he felt fortunate to have been able to attend. And that really made me feel good, and made me feel like the efforts were worth it. That was a good day on the job.