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

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I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and you are making plans to make 2012 a fantastic year. Make sure you include in your 2012 plans to attend the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) annual conference that will be held March 7 to 10 at the Fairmont Chicago-Millennium Park. This year looks to be another great conference. The planning committee has been hard at work improving the conference based on many of the suggestions made last year. There will be more preconference offerings this year than ever before. There was also a record in the number of abstracts that were submitted. If you have not already done so, please make plans to join us in Chicago.


I cannot believe that I am sitting down and writing my last president's message. This last year has just flown by. Surreal is a tame description for the past year. This year has been one of growth both intellectually and emotionally for me. I knew that I would face many challenges throughout the year, but what I did not know is how important I would find the work on a personnel level. I had many opportunities to represent NACNS at meetings, conferences, teleconferences, in interviews, and even on mass media video. Every time I opened my mouth or walked into a room, I felt the awesome reasonability of speaking for every member of NACNS. The fantastic part was that every time I opened my mouth or walked into a room, I also felt that I had the collective support of all NACNS members. I know this sounds like I wanted to say the "right thing," but it is true. I would hear the voices of past presidents and other clinical nurse specialist leaders in my head as I was speaking for NACNS. This is something I have not experienced in the past; although a little frightening, it also was comforting. I guess what I am trying to say is that it has been an honor and a privilege to represent you as president the past year.


In my first message to you, I talked about 3 different virtues that I found to be important, and I said that they would be seen, felt, and experienced by all. Honesty, excellence, and reliability were the virtues I addressed. I think we (NACNS), and I say "we" because remember you are all in my head, have done a good job with all 3 of the virtues. We have done a great job of being honest this year. I had talked about open and truthful communication. We asked for your input to our strategic plan and you responded with great information. We sent out the educational criteria for public comment and you responded by ensuring that it was spread to an even wider audience. We were able to get some fantastic comments. This year, we also reinstated the electronic newsletter and it has met with great success.

President Stephen Pa... - Click to enlarge in new windowPresident Stephen Patton representing NACNS at nursing organizations meeting.

I next addressed excellence and mentioned the noble cause of NACNS. The mission of NACNS is still noble, and the work of the organization is still excellence. I did my best to be a cheerleader for all the excellent work being done by the Board of Directors, our interim executive director, our operations staff, the many committee members, our task forces, and every member when they were asked to step up and provide their talent to NACNS. I was overwhelmed by the excellence I experienced this year.


Last, but not least, I mentioned reliability. NACNS was there at every important meeting, conference, and interview opportunity. We divided and conquered: If there was an event that we needed to have a presence at, we were there. We always found someone to attend these important events, whether it was a Board member, staff, or a volunteer; thus, NACNS was present when we needed to be present. We found a way to get the job done. NACNS was nothing if not reliable.


This past year, NACNS went beyond honesty, excellence, and reliability. We excelled in so many ways. We moved forward with a tight budget and set priorities while always balancing what needed to be done and what we would like to do within our limited resources. This was not a small accomplishment. We established a new strategic plan and budgeted for necessary tasks to accomplish the plan. We released the educational criteria after several years it took to work through the process. We improved our conference and are hoping to beat last years' record attendance this coming March 2012. NACNS sought out new informal alliances in the nursing community and now have renewed and strong relationships. We have made large strides within the regulatory communities, and our issues are known and heard.


This has been a very productive year for NACNS. Much has been accomplished, thanks to the hard work of many, not only this year but also due to years of hard work by so, so many individuals. I want to thank the Board of Directors for all of their support this past year. Melinda, Ethan, Pamela, and Jonathan, I could have not asked for better staff. Most importantly, I want to thank you, the members, for your work, support, and kind words this past year. It has been positively surreal.



Veterans Affairs Virtual Affiliate

Jeffrey Albaugh, urology clinical nurse specialist (CNS) at the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Chicago, is one of the authors of a chapter entitled "Quantification of Erectile Dysfunction After Prostate Cancer Treatment" in Contemporary Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction: A Clinical Guide (2011, published by Springer Science). He presented several papers over this past year, including "Penile Rehabilitation After Radical Prostatectomy" at the Irish Association of Urology Nurses held in Dublin, Ireland, on January 28, 2011; "Female Sexual Dysfunction: When Sex Hurts" at the 2011 West Virginia Women's Health Conference in Charleston, West Virginia, on May 10, 2011; and "Urologic Diseases for the Allied Healthcare Professional: Female Sexual Dysfunction" at the American Urological Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on May 14, 2011. In addition, Jeffrey has been recruited for an additional position of Sexual Health Clinic director at NorthShore University Healthcare System at Glenbrook Hospital.


Mary Theresa Lau, nutrition support/intravenous therapy CNS at the Hines, Illinois, VAMC, published an article in the September/October 2011 issue of the Journal of Infusion Nursing entitled "Parenteral Nutrition in the Malnourished Dialysis, Cancer, Obese and Hyperemesis Gravidarum Patient."


Ann H. Busch, liver transplant CNS at the Portland, Oregon, VAMC, was appointed to the Veterans Affairs National Transplant Surgery Advisory Board within the National Surgery Office. She presented a poster entitled "HBIG IV to IM Conversion: Saving Time and Money and Increasing Patient Satisfaction" at the national Veterans Affairs Advanced Practice Nursing Conference in Chicago in August 2011. Ann was an invited keynote speaker to the International Transplant Nurses Society 20th Annual Symposium and General Assembly held in Goteborg, Sweden, in September 2011. Her keynote address was "Herbs and Supplements: Natural, Healthy, or Hepatotoxic?" She also presented an abstract entitled "TEN (Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis): The Number Not to Achieve Post Transplant!" at the International Transplant Nurses Conference in September 2011.


Kelly Goudreau, nurse executive at the White City, Oregon, VAMC, presented at the Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses conference in September 2011 on the topic of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Consensus Model and its potential impact on Canadian advanced practice registered nurses.


Elissa Brown, psych CNS at the Greater Los Angeles, California, VAMC, was appointed in September 2011 by the California Action Coalition as 1 of the 2 coleaders for the Los Angeles region. This action coalition is working on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Association of Retired Persons Future of Nursing Initiative and the 8 major recommendations.


Christy Delee Burleson of the Portland, Oregon, VAMC, was awarded the 2011 Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins CNS Scholarship. She is a CNS student at Washington State University-Vancouver and is expected to graduate in 2013.


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


Washington Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission recently agreed to revise the Washington State Advanced Practice Nursing rules to include clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) as advanced practice nurses. In Washington, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives are all referred to as advanced registered nurse practitioners. Soon, CNSs will be added to this definition. The Commission will begin the rule writing process once the current moratorium is lifted. This is anticipated to occur in January 2012. Much work remains to ensure that currently practicing CNSs (for whom certification examinations are lacking) are able to continue to practice, but we look forward to the day when CNSs are appropriately recognized as advanced practice nurses in Washington State. The Washington Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists likes to thank the Washington State Nurses Association and Louise Kaplan for their continued partnership and support of advanced practice nurses.


Submitted by: Heather Schoonover MN, APRN, BC, CNS


Wisconsin Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The Wisconsin Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (WIACNS) was formed in 2007 to provide education and professional activities for clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) in Wisconsin. This past year, WIACNS members participated at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Conference held March 2011 in Baltimore: Brenda Larkin, Kim Mitchell, and Sue Fuhrman had podium presentations, and Suzanne Purvis, Mary Schmidt, and Cristin Phillips had poster presentations. Two WIACNS members received national awards: Lisa Gorski received the CNS of the Year Award and Sharron Coffie received the CNS Preceptor of the Year Award.


Accomplishments for our affiliate this year have been made possible through the contributions of multiple members. A Web site Development Work Group collected proposals from Web site developers to create a new Web site ( that would provide added features such as online payment and evaluations for the annual conference. The task force presented proposals in August, a developer was hired, and the new Web site became active the beginning of October 2011. We have also further developed and updated our Facebook page as another communication tool for the annual conference and meetings.


A CNS Week Work Group developed an Idea Guide for National CNS Week, submitted an article to the statewide newsletter (Nursing Matters), and obtained proclamations from the Wisconsin governor and several mayors in the state. Two members, Tim Heyse and Sue Fuhrman, have served as legislative liaisons and represented WIACNS on the Wisconsin Nursing Coalition, a group of Wisconsin nursing organizations, and also on the Advanced Practice Nursing Forum Task Force, a group working on a proposal that would implement advanced practice registered nurse title protection in Wisconsin. WIACNS also made a donation of $1000 to the National CNS Foundation to support scholarship awards to CNS students.


General meetings for WIACNS are held 6 times a year, and each meeting includes an educational presentation in addition to the business meeting. We maximize member participation by having teleconference call-in available for those who cannot attend the meeting in person. Education topics during 2011 have included heart failure education for nursing staff, an NACNS conference report, CNS role in promoting physician and nurse (MD-to-registered nurse) collaboration, electronic health record implementation, optimizing stroke care across a hospital system, evidence-based practice for mechanical venous thromboembolitic prophylaxis, and health literacy.


On October 17, 2011, WIACNS held its third annual state conference with the theme "CNS: Leading Innovations in Healthcare." The conference had 78 attendees and featured 14 exhibitors and 9 poster presentations. The keynote speaker, Kathleen Vollman, presented "Professional Development Model for CNS Practice" and also a breakout session on critical communication skills for CNS success. Other presentation topics included the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Consensus Model and Wisconsin registered nurse licensure, a panel of new CNSs who shared reflections on CNS mentors, aromatherapy, home medication management, pain program development, and a closing keynote on mobilizing leadership skills for future success.


Current WIACNS officers include Julie Darmody, president (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee); Stephenie Cerns, president-elect (Froedtert Health); Stephanie Kraus, past president (University of Wisconsin Health); Brenda Larkin, treasurer (Aurora Health Care); and Barbara Mangiafico, secretary (ProHealth Care). To learn more about WIACNS, visit our Web site (


Submitted by: Julie Darmody, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, WIACNS president



The number of National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) affiliates continues to grow. The 31 affiliate groups serve a vital role in keeping clinical nurse specialist (CNS) members apprised of practice and regulatory changes that may affect them. We have affiliates that represent groups of CNSs who live in the same state, CNSs who live in a region of a single state or across neighboring states, as well as virtual affiliates that represent groups that have a common identity but who do not reside in a defined geographical region.


Virtual affiliates include the following:


Military Virtual Affiliate


Virtual Veterans Affairs Nationwide Clinical Nurse Specialist Group



State affiliates include the following:


Alaska Clinical Nurse Specialist Association


Arizona Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


California Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Delaware NACNS


Illinois Branch Clinical Nurse Specialist Representatives


Louisiana Affiliate of NACNS


Michigan Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Minnesota Affiliate


Montana Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


North Carolina Affiliate of NACNS


Northeast Affiliate (Maine)


Oklahoma Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Oregon Council of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Washington Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Wisconsin Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists



Regional affiliates include the following:


Association of Central Florida Clinical Nurse Specialists


Atlanta Area CNS Group (Georgia)


Central Indiana Organization of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Chesapeake Bay Affiliate of NACNS (Maryland)


Central Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialist Association


Greater Kansas City CNS Group (Missouri)


Heart of GA Clinical Nurse Specialists


Illiana Lakeshore Organization of Clinical Nurse Specialists (Indiana)


Northeast Florida Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists


Northeast New York CNS Group


Northeast Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialists


Philadelphia Area Affiliate of Clinical Nurse Specialists (Pennsylvania)


Upstate New York Chapter of Clinical Nurse Specialists




The planning committee for the 2012 annual conference, "Optimizing Outcomes-Influencing Across the Spheres," has created an excellent and varied program for attendees. The opening keynote speaker is Kathleen McCauley, PhD, ACNS-BC, FAAN, FAHA, who will present "The CNS in Transitional Care: Our Time Has Come." During the conference, there will be an afternoon session devoted to recognizing and honoring the clinical nurse specialist journal's 25th anniversary.


The conference includes four 4-hour preconference workshops available on Wednesday, March 7, and a pharmacology postconference on Saturday, March 10. The 2 morning preconference workshops will each be presented by the Education Committee and the Research Committee. The 2 afternoon preconference workshops include one that focuses on legislative and regulatory issues, and the other is a return-by-popular-demand presentation by the Joanna Briggs Institute on their evidenced-based practice resources.



If you have information you want to share about yourself, your National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists peers, or your affiliate/affiliate peers, please send the news item to News items for the 2012 May/June issue are due by February 21, 2012.