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Specialist practice in nursing and midwifery

The clinical career pathway for specialist roles in nursing and midwifery is clinical nurse/midwife specialist (CNS/CMS).

You could pursue a specialist role if you:

  • have a particular interest in a certain area of nursing or midwifery
  • wish to become a clinical expert within a specific area (either a clinical area or in relation to a clinical condition)

About the role of CNS/CMS

The role of CNS/CMS offers practitioners a career pathway incorporating professional development within an inter-professional team structure.

The speciality area is a defined area of nursing and midwifery practice. This specialist practice encompasses a major clinical focus of care to patients or clients and their families in hospital, community and outpatient settings. The specialist nurse or midwife will work with medical and para-medical colleagues.

The CNS/CMS role centres on 5 core competencies:

  • clinical focus (direct care and indirect care)
  • patient/client advocate
  • education and training
  • audit and research
  • consultant including leadership in clinical practice

CNS/CMS clinical specialisms

There is a wide range of clinical specialisms in Ireland across different settings. Some examples include:

  • chronic disease: respiratory, diabetes and cardiology
  • midwifery: ultrasonography, bereavement and loss and foetal assessment
  • child and adolescent mental health
  • community: mental health and tissue viability
  • paediatrics: paediatric diabetes
  • ID Services: positive behaviour support and acute hospital liaison
  • Older Persons Services: memory assessment and support

Career Pathways for Clinical Nurse Specialist/Clinical Midwife Specialist (CNS/CMS)

The CNS/CMS career pathways were developed in line with the DoH (2019) A Policy on the Development of Graduate to Advanced Nursing and Midwifery Practice.

Please see eligibility criteria below:

Updated Job Descriptions:

Career Pathways for Clinical Nurse Specialist/Clinical Midwife Specialist (CNSCMS) Information Leaflet (PDF, size 614.8 KB, 2 pages)

Guidance document to Support the Professional Development of Clinical and Candidate Nurse Midwife Specialist (CNSCMS) (PDF, size 851 KB, 16 pages)

CNS/CMS application process

  • Talk to your local line manager.
  • Contact your local CNS/CMS NMPDU support contacts (see below).
  • Request copies of CNS/CMS post descriptions and post-holder application forms.
  • Request details of process for approval.

ONMSD Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialist Webinar Series Recordings now available on HSeLanD

  • Webinar 1. Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland/Nursing and Midwifery Medicinal Product Prescribing. Dr. Ray Healy Dr Director of Registration NMBI and Ms. Clare MacGabhann National Lead and Director of Nursing and Midwifery (Prescribing) ONMSD.
  • Webinar 2. Practice based evidence and evidence based practice (Research). Dr. Owen Doody, Senior Lecturer Department of Nursing and Midwifery University of Limerick.
  • Webinar 3. CNS/CMS Roles, Responsibility, Authority, Accountability. Ms. Liz Early, Consultant Management & Leadership.
  • Webinar 4. Clinical Indemnity, Claims management, enhancing documentation and clinical risk / patient safety. Ms. Cliodhna Grady, Ms. Marie Hutton and Ms. Sheila King.
  • Webinar 5. “Owning the Leadership aspect of the CNS/CMS role” Ms. Marie Kilduff and Ms. Mags Williams. National Clinical Leadership Centre.
  • Webinar 6. “Negotiating and Influencing in the CNS/CMS role” Mr. Michael Comyn, Leadership Coach and Trainer.
  • Webinar 7. “CNS/CMS role in Digital/E-Health” Ms. Loretto Grogan, National Chief Nursing and Midwifery Information Officer HSE.
  • Webinar 8. “Workplace Health and Wellbeing/Self Care” Ms. Sibeal Carolan, Projects Lead, Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit HSE.
  • Webinar 9. “National Policy Direction an overview - Sláintecare, RHAs, Enhanced Community Care (CDM and ICPOP) and Expert Review” Ms. Georgina Bassett Deputy Chief Nursing Officer DOH.
  • Webinar 10. “National HSE Programmes Including: Quality and Patient Safety, Engagement and Culture and HSE Change Guide” Ms. Marie O’Haire, Organisation Development and Change Practitioner, HSE Organisation Development & Design Improving Change Capacity and Ms. Vera Kelly General Manager Organisation Design & Development National HR Lead for Engagement & Culture.
  • Webinar 11. “An overview of CNS/CMS pathways and approval processes” Ms. Carmel Buckley Area NMPD Director HSE South, Ms. Carmel Hoey NMPD Director HSE West Mid West.

To access the recordings:

1. Login to
2. Select ‘course catalogue’
3. Select ‘ONMSD’ and then ‘National Programmes’

Alternatively you can access the recordings by:

1. Login to
2. Search for “Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialist Continuous Professional Development Summer Series”

Related topic

Active link to the current Autumn Series

Link to upcoming Winter series

Contact the CNS/CMS support network

HSE South (Cork, Kerry)

Ms Carmel Buckley (Chairperson) Area Director, NMPDU, Administration Building, St Mary’s Health Campus,Gurranabraher, Cork
Ms Amy Slattery,NMPD Officer NMPDU, Administration Building, St Mary’s Health Campus, Gurranabraher, Cork

HSE North-West

Ms Liz Breslin, NMPD Officer NMPDU, HSE West, College Street, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal

HSE West Mid-west

Ms Carmel Hoey, NMPD Officer NMPDU, West/Mid-West, Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway
Ms Paula McGreal, NMPD Officer Centre of Nurse and Midwifery Education, St Mary's Campus Castlebar, Co Mayo
Ms Annette Connolly, NMPD Officer ADON, NMPD, Health Service Executive West Mid West, 31/33, Catherine Street, Limerick V94 AY27

NMPD Dublin North-East

Ms Lorraine Flynn, Assistant Director of Nursing & Midwifery Planning and Development, NMPDU, HSE Dublin North East, Mellifont Unit, St. Brigid’s Complex, Ardee, Co. Louth.

HSE Dublin Mid Leinster

Ms Anne Bursnell NMPD Officer, NMPDU, Dublin South, Kildare & Wicklow, HSE, Stewarts Hospital, Mill Lane, Palmerstown, Dublin 20

HSE South-East

Ms Michelle Waldron, NMPD Officer NMPDU, HSE South (Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford) Kilcreene Hospital Campus, Kilkenny

HSE Dublin North

Ms Sarah Roche, NMPD Officer NMPDU, HSE Dublin North, Swords Business Campus, Balheary Road, Swords, Co. Dublin

HSE Dublin Mid Leinster

Finola Gill, NMPD Officer, NMPDU Midlands, HSE Dublin Mid Leinster, 1st Floor, Scott Building, Midland Regional Hospital Campus, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.