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clinical nurse specialist, clinical practice council



  1. Becker, Elaine PhD, RN
  2. Dee, Vivien DNSc, RN
  3. Gawlinski, Anna DNSc, RN, FAAN
  4. Kirkpatrick, Theresa MSN, RN
  5. Lawanson-Nichols, Mary MSN, RN
  6. Lee, Betty MN, RN
  7. Marino, Christina MSN, RN
  8. McNair, Norma RN
  9. Melwak, Mary A. PhD, RN
  10. Purdy, Isabell PhD, RN
  11. Samimi, Shohreh S. MSN, RN
  12. Sund, Grace MSN, RN
  13. Zanotti, Jennifer MSN, RN


In the practice of nursing, organizations with progressive evidence-based practice programs implement structures and processes whereby nurses are engaged in the review of existing research and in the development of clinical practice documents to better align nursing practices with the best available scientific knowledge. At our academic hospital system, clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) took the lead to help transform a traditional nursing policy and procedure committee into a hospital-wide, staff-represented Clinical Practice Council (CPC) that ensures evidence-based nursing practices are reflected in the organization's nursing practice documents for the provision of patient care. Clinical nurse specialists function as mentors and cochairs who are dedicated to ensuring that nursing practice is supported by the latest evidence and committed to guiding staff nurses to continually move their practice forward. The success of the CPC is due to the leadership and commitment of the CNSs. This article describes the structure, process, and outcomes of an effective CPC where CNSs successfully engage frontline clinicians in promoting nursing care that is evidence based. Clinical nurse specialist leadership is increasingly made visible as CNSs effectively involve staff nurses in practice reforms to improve patient outcomes.