Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist (Peri-CNS)

The Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) track within the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program focuses on care of the childbearing family and prepares nurses for roles in a variety of perinatal health care settings. Throughout your program of study, you will have opportunities to develop advanced knowledge and skill in perinatal/neonatal nursing. Courses include content on:

  • nursing concepts
  • individual and family development
  • physiological concepts
  • pathophysiology
  • role development, and
  • research

Advanced nursing courses and electives integrate theoretical content and clinical experiences and assist you in expanding your knowledge of perinatal health, examination and application of research findings in perinatal nursing and development, and evaluation of the clinical nurse specialist and other advanced nurse practice roles in perinatal care. Exploration and analysis of normal physiologic changes and psychosocial events during the childbearing cycle, pathophysiologic events and chronic health problems affecting the mother, fetus and/or neonate in at risk situations and family adaptations. Graduates of this program have taken positions as a Perinatal CNS, maternity clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager, outreach educator, and in staff development and community settings.

Opportunities for distance learning are available. The Perinatal CNS-DNP program can typically be completed in 3 years.


At this time there is no specific certification for the Perinatal CNS offered by national certification organizations.  Our Perinatal CNS curriculum follows the Women’s Health CNS Competencies published by the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) in 2014.