1. Patten, Stephen MSN, RN, CNS, CNOR

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I am still awestruck at the overwhelming success of our annual conference this year. This was our largest conference to date with over 540 in attendance. Of those who answered our postconference survey, 58% were first-time attendees. I am so happy we could provide such a wonderful experience to all these first-time attendees. The change in format allowed for nearly 3 times as many presentations this year over years past. The overall rating of the conference was excellent. Dr Benner was a fantastic opening speaker. I cannot remember when I have seen so many attendees at a national conference stand in line to get their picture taken with a keynote speaker. This was definitely a great start to a great conference. Again, thank you, Dr Benner for a fabulous opening of the 2011 conference.


Dr Benner set the tone, and I believe that the attendees kept the enthusiasm going for the whole conference. This year's highly requested addition of a postconference with pharmacology continuing education credits was an impeccable way to close out the conference. In between, we had 30 breakout sessions. I know that some felt that having 3 speakers per hour was a bit compressed, but this allowed us to triple the number of presentations this year. I heard so many positive feedbacks about the conference that I know we are on the right track for another superb conference in Chicago in March 2012.

World renowned autho... - Click to enlarge in new windowWorld renowned author, Patricia Benner, giving the opening keynote address at the 2011 NACNS conference.

The board devoted many hours during the conference planning for the future of NACNS with the help of Melinda Ray, our new interim executive director. We spent most of the time working on both tactical and strategic planning. I believe we have made great strides and are moving in the right direction on many fronts. For the first time, we were able to have all committee members selected prior to the conference. This gave the committee members an opportunity to meet and enjoy a dinner together. The committee chairs were able to initiate committee work before they left the conference. The membership will start to see the results of the strategic and tactical planning as well as the work of the committees soon. I would urge you to look at the NACNS Web site because we have implemented a major redesign, and you will start to see postings from the different committees that will illustrate the work that is being accomplished. Consistent with the mission of NACNS, your board and committees are working hard on your behalf to (1) increase global visibility and influence of clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), (2) provide a forum for CNSs to advance nursing knowledge, share resources, and discuss current issues to improve health care outcomes, and (3) serve as the national authority for CNS practice, education, and research.


Finally, I want to share some anecdotal information from the AONE conference that I attended in San Diego this April. I had the privilege of manning the NACNS booth at the AONE conference. The first thing I learned was that over 70% of the nursing executive I spoke with said, "I was originally educated as a CNS." My response was, "Once a CNS, always a CNS. Here is a membership form." I am amazed by the number of CNSs who are in leadership positions around the country. We need to partner with these leaders on many fronts. The most important front is to ensure good patient outcomes during this time of health care reform. More optimistically, the second thing I found out from these nurse executives is that they want to hire CNSs, but they are having a tough time finding them. I told them to work with their local colleges and universities to ensure that the schools are educating and graduating CNSs. My take-home message from this is that we CNSs need to do a better job of recruiting CNS students. We also need to publish the outcomes of our work. All nurse executives and educators need to know that CNSs improve patient outcomes and do so in a cost-effective manner.


I was able to attend most of the educational offerings at the AONE conference. The one that had the greatest impact to me was "The Clinical Nurse Specialist: Support Where It's Needed Most," presented by Norine Kay Watson, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, and Louanne A. Stratton, PhD, RN. This presentation described how an institution during reorganization expanded the number of CNSs by reducing the number of nursing educators. Seven nursing educators were offered the opportunity to take 30 months to go back to school at no cost to the nurses and become licensed certified CNSs. If they did not take the opportunity, their position would be eliminated. It was a very successful change for the institution with measurable outcomes. Two members of the audience, other nurse executives, said they were doing the same thing at their institutions. All said that CNSs operating in the 3 spheres of influence could do so much more.


In closing, I would like to say that the AONE conference, the work of the NACNS board and committees, and the attendance at the NACNS conference make me very optimistic for the future of CNSs during this time of health care reform. I am optimistic, not naive. There is a lot of work to do at the national, state, and local levels. I want to urge each of you to become an activist, get involved with your local affiliate, attend your state board of nursing meetings, and volunteer to do something and anything and publish.

Stephen Patton, pres... - Click to enlarge in new windowStephen Patton, president of NACNS, speaking to the 2011 NACNS conference attendees.
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Melissa J. Benton, PhD, RN, CNS, FACSM, an associate professor of nursing at Valdosta State University, was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM). Dr Benton is one of the first, if not the first registered nurse fellow, and she will be representing nursing and the CNS community.



The 2012 NACNS conference will be held in Chicago on March 8 to 10. The theme is "Optimizing Outcomes-Influencing Across the Spheres." There will be preconference workshops on Wednesday, March 7. Please consider submitting an abstract to present either a paper or a poster at the 2012 NACNS conference. The abstract submission site will open on July 1, 2011, and the deadline for regular abstracts is September 12, 2011.


Affiliate News

Veterans Affairs Affiliate

The Veterans Affairs (VA) affiliate was well represented at the 2011 NACNS conference. Kathleen Dunn, spinal cord injury CNS at the VA San Diego (California) Healthcare System, presented a poster entitled "Skin Rounds: The CNS as Interdisciplinary Skin Team Expert." Christine Valdez, perioperative CNS at the Portland, Oregon, VA Medical Center, presented a poster, "Revitalizing Touch at the Bedside as an Innovative Method of Care," with coauthor Christine Locke, medical-surgical CNS.


Christine Valdez also presented posters at the Association of Perioperative Nurses 2011 AORN Congress entitled "Noise Awareness Campaign in the Operating Room" and "A Cognitive Aid for Perioperative Defibrillation: Development and Testing Using a High-fidelity Simulator." Chandila Tutt, dialysis/MICU CNS, and Regina Taylor, Magnet Coordinator at the Atlanta, Georgia, VA presented, "The Magnet Journey: A dialysis Unit's Perspective," at the American Nephrology Nurses Association's Georgia state conference in March 2011.


Melissa L. Hutchinson, MICU/CCU CNS at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle, was elected to the national Board of Directors for American Association of Critical Care Nurses and will serve from July 2011 to 2014.


Deborah Kesterson, surgical CNS at the Louis Stokes VA in Cleveland, Ohio, is the author of a recently published Cochrane Nursing Care Corner Summaries of Nursing Care-Related Systematic Review on Discharge Planning, which can be accessed at


Submitted by Kathleen L. Dunn, MS, RN, CRRN, CNS-BC


Montana Affiliate News

The Montana Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (MACNS), the Montana Nurses Association (District 1), and Zeta Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International cosponsored a spring research meeting in Missoula, Montana. Carolyn Mack served as the event organizer. The goal of this year's annual research dinner meeting was to present findings from locally conducted nursing research, scholarship activities, and opportunities to engage in research in Montana.


Members of MACNS have been busy with scholarly activities. Linda Torma recently completed the first Dartmouth Institute Microsystem Academy, an 8-month training program that brings practice and academic partners together to learn the latest techniques in clinical microsystem assessment and improvement. The clinical work completed by Linda Torma's team, "Improving Direct Admission Flow Through the Emergency Department," was presented at a poster session at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Master's Essentials meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, and at MACNS's spring research meeting. Linda Torma presented "Fibromyalgia in Older Adults," at the 2011 Western Institute of Nursing Annual Communicating Nursing Research Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Linda Torma received funding from the Montana State University College of Nursing Block Grant Program to conduct a phenomenological study entitled "The Lived Experience of Resilient Older Adults Living With Fibromyalgia."


Charlene Winters presented on lessons learned from using community-based participatory research and case study methods to explore a community's research communication and engagement at the 2011 Western Institute of Nursing Annual Communicating Nursing Research Conference in Las Vegas, NV.


Dorothy "Dale" Mayer received funding from the Montana State University College of Nursing Block Grant Program to explore patient and family perceptions of palliative care received in the hospital setting. Dale Mayer presented her research entitled "Maintaining Family Connections After Sudden Cardiac Death," at the 9th International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society and at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling in Miami, FL.


Dale Mayer and Jean Shreffler Grant are members of the Research Council at a local hospital. The purpose of the council is to evaluate potential research projects, support interested researchers, find funding for research, coordinate potential publishing opportunities for research, and disseminate findings.


Susan Luparell's paper on incivility in nursing was published in the April edition of Critical Care Nurse. Carolyn Mack and Rebecca Echeverri were among 40 faculty members to receive the 2011 Excellence Award for teaching at Montana State University College of Nursing. Members of the Montana affiliate continue to find ways to engage in research and scholarship and are committed to partnering with community members to advance evidence-based practice.


Submitted by Charlene A. Winters, PhD, ACNS-BC



If you have information you want to share about yourself, your NACNS peers, or your affiliate/affiliate peers, please send the news item to News items for the 2011 November/December issue are due by August 29, 2011.


National Guidelines for Clinical Nurse Specialist Education in Final Review

NACNS announced the availability of National Guidelines for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Education for public comment on May 25, 2011. These comments were collected through June 6, 2011, and served as one of the final phases in the drafting of this important resource. These guidelines present criteria for the evaluation of clinical nurse specialist master's, practice doctorate, and post-master's certificate educational programs and represent the expert consensus of a wide range of nursing partners including those with education, practice, accreditation, and licensure background. This document is intended to provide a detailed description of program organization and administration, program resources, student criteria, curriculum, and program evaluation.


The National Guidelines for CNS Education were preliminarily developed by a task force composed of members representing the NACNS, National League for Nursing, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. At the conclusion of this initial effort, the proposed guidelines were provided to a larger group of stakeholders guided by a neutral convener and consistent with a national consensus-building process previously used to develop nationally recognized education standards and competencies. Theresa M. "Terry" Valiga, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, is the director of the Institute for Educational Excellence, Duke University School of Nursing, and served as the neutral convener for this effort.


These National Guidelines will serve as the topic of discussion at the July 14, 2011, NACNS Invitational Summit that will be hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A final copy of these guidelines is expected to be available on the NACNS Web site on or before October 1, 2011.


O*NET Program Solicits NACNS Expertise

NACNS has been contacted by the US Department of Labor and asked to assist with updating their program known as the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). The O*NET Program serves employers, human resource professionals, job counselors, and labor market analysts across the country who depend on occupational information to perform their daily work. Individuals who are exploring and planning careers may also use O*NET information.


NACNS has been asked to assist in identifying occupational experts (OEs). These OEs are asked to have 5 or more years of experience with an occupation or experience as a supervisor or trainer as well as the expertise to rate the occupation on skills, tasks, knowledge areas, work context factors, and work activities.


Individuals who serve as OEs will be asked to complete O*NET questionnaires to provide information on their field of expertise. Their contribution to this program will ensure that the occupational information provided in the O*NET database is current and accurate.


If you are contacted by the US Department of Labor, your participation is voluntary. Yet, participation by you and other OEs is vital to the success of this important program. If you are selected as a potential expert, you will receive communication directly from O*NET Program staff.