Expert Nurse Specialty Development


Prepare the Nurse to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the whole patient system, recognizing subtle changes and proactively resolving problems to improve outcomes
  • Recognize opportunities for improvement and take a leadership role in realizing those opportunities
  • Function as a leader in the patient care team
  • Consistently use research-based evidence in practice
  • Serve as a role model, coach and Mentor for other staff
  • Demonstrate mastery of skills used in the specialty practice
  • Formulate an individual plan for continued learning, professional development


Support professional development of the Nurse working in the specialty, who is on a career path to expert nurse in that specialty. 

Provide expert nursing care for your Patients.

Support your Physicians & Providers with expert nursing staff.

Upon successful completion of the Program, if desired and eligible, the Nurse is ready to sit for the chosen specialty certification exam.


  • Medical-Surgical Nurse Expert
  • Critical Care / Cardio-Pulmonary Nurse Expert
  • Obstetrical & Gynecology Nurse Expert
  • Emergency Nurse Expert
  • Psychiatric Nurse Expert
  • Surgical Services Nurse Expert
  • Pediatric Nurse Expert
  • Geriatric Nurse Expert


Each Program includes these Courses:

  • Clinical Competence Course
  • Clinical Competency Validation &  Bedside Competency Sign-Off  
  • Home Unit Coordination
  • Specialty-Specific Culture
  • Culture Competency Validation
  • Certification Preparation

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Course Content

Clinical Competence Course

Course curriculum for each Program is guided by the Specialty's organization, societies, academies and related agencies.

Content is organized by systems, focused on biological, physiological, psychological, and sociocultural factors that influence patients cared for in the Specialty. 

Clinical Competency Validation

Key skills, identified from the Clinical Competence Course and from hospital and unit needs, are used to create Clinical Competency Validations.

Checking off competencies may occur anywhere there is an internet including at the bedside and in a simulation lab by using the COS Bedside Competency Sign-Off.  

Competency progress may be viewed at any time on the Clinical Competency Dashboard by the Learner, Preceptor or Mentor, Manager, Onsite Coordinator, Nurse Leadership, and COS Faculty. 

Using the Clinical Competency Dashboard supports early intervention for problem solving and opportunities to praise and encourage wins.

Specialty-Specific Culture

Integrity & Ethics

Health Policy & Regulatory Frameworks

Healthcare Business & Finance

Professional Role & Self Care

Systems Theory, Thinking & Design 

Change Management


Research & Critical Thinking

Quality & Culture of Safety 

Teamwork & Leadership Skills    

Career Pathway Development

Culture Competency Validation

Key Competencies for Specialty-Specific Culture Course & Hospital-Specific Competencies. 

Specialty-Specific Culture Competency Validation begins with a self-assessment at the beginning of the Program and is completed as one of the last activities at the end of the 12 months. 

Competency progress may be viewed at any time on the  Culture Competency Dashboard by the Nurse Learner, Mentor, Manager, Onsite Coordinator, Nurse Leadership, and COS Faculty. 

Using the Culture Competency Dashboard  supports early intervention for problem solving and opportunities to praise and encourage wins.

Home Unit Coordination

Hospital and Unit Specific Education.

Clinical Competence Course & Clinical Competency Validation Course customized with Hospital and Home Unit Education Material.

Specialty-Specific Culture Course & 

Culture Competency Validation Course 

customized with Hospital and Home Unit Education Material.

Certification Preparation

Review of Certification Eligibility Requirements.

How to prepare for Certification Exam.

How to overcome Test Anxiety.

* How to apply for COS Scholarship *

Innovative Cloud-Based Program Structure

Uniquely designed Programs

Innovative Program Structure

COS Expert Nurse Specialty Development Program is a structured, guided, 12 month offering. Its evidence-based curriculum is designed to support the experienced nurse on the journey to expert nurse. 

A Program offering begins every week. 

The program is designed to be flexible and to be completed throughout the year at the individual  Nurse Learner’s pace. There are milestones set throughout the Program to maintain steady progress toward completion.  

While the amount of time the individual nurse needs to complete the Program will vary, the general expectations is 2 hours per week of Program activities including Cohort Web Conferences every 4 weeks.

The nurse continues to be shepherded through the culture transition by COS Faculty and onsite support staff.

Activities Throughout the Program

  • Learning Module Completion 
  • Cross Departmental Experience
  • Competency Simulation   
  • Competency Validation with Bedside Competency Sign-Off
  • Journaling  
  • Cohort Web Conferences 
  • Virtual Office Hours
  • Coaching/Emailing 

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Blended Onsite & Online Learning

COS Expert Nurse Specialty Development is a Blended Learning experience with both onsite and online education and support. 

COS provides structure, curriculum, learning modules, competencies to be completed, and continuous interaction with Learner, Unit Manager, Onsite Coordinator and other key onsite players. 

COS Faculty coach continually by regularly responding to email and by posting Virtual Office Hours each week and as needed.  Support is available throughout the 24 hour day, weekdays and weekends.

Onsite, the Learner is supported by the Unit Manager, a Mentor, and the Onsite Coordinator. The Onsite Coordinator, often a nurse educator, is the hospital’s COS liaison. 

COS leadership is available to the Onsite Coordinator to discuss any aspect of the program.

~~~ Cloud-Based Platform ~~~

COS innovative Cloud-Based Platform allows us to provide programs that are cost-effective and easily client-customized. This makes Blended Learning easy, flexible and smart.

Maximum flexibility and mobility enable Learners to complete learning assignments in their own time, at their own pace, and anywhere the web is available. 

Our platform supports all mobile devices and enjoys industry-leading up-time. It is accessible regardless of time of day or day of week.

All COS Learners may create a Professional Portfolio to document COS coursework, other educational achievements, certifications, personal committee work, research involvement, professional organization involvement, and volunteer work.  The cloud-based document is available indefinitely.

This full support for Competency-Based Learning coupled with actionable learning analytics, supports maximum productivity for the Learner and all persons supporting the nurse learner.

Competency-Based Learning Dashboards

Designed to support Competency-Based Learning, Expert Nurse Specialty Development Dashboards can be viewed at any time by the Learner and all persons involved in the learning experience.  

Learner progress and outcomes available for review include:

  • Confidence
  • Competence
  • Mastery of the Specialty
  • Ability to Organize and Prioritize
  • Satisfaction
  • Engagement
  • Bedside Leadership
  • Course Progress
  • Competency Completion

Learn about Cloud-Based Professional Portfolio