1. Horner, Sharon D. PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN

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As all of you know, National Nurses Week is observed each year from May 6 to 12, but it was not always this way. As a nation, the first time we observed a National Nurses Week was October 1954, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to the Crimea. We have had Nurses Days and Weeks that have shifted from month to month depending on different organizational or congressional declarations. In 1974, the International Council of Nurses established May 12-the birthday of Florence Nightingale-as International Nurse Day. In 1981, the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated May 6 as National Nurses Day. Finally, in 1990, ANA expanded the time for recognizing nurses to an entire week: May 6 to 12.


Why am I talking about National Nurses Week? First, because all of our members are, first and foremost, registered nurses who provide a myriad of valuable, vital services every day. I want to recognize and extend my thanks for all that you do to improve health outcomes, promote safety, and reduce costs-across both the continuum of care and in educational arenas. Second, because you are clinical nurse specialists (CNS), I suspect that many of you are involved in planning and implementing institutional activities to celebrate nursing staff. I invite you to share your unique, fun, interesting (maybe economical?) ideas with the other members of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) as these might help them in planning future celebrations.


I also want to remind you that National CNS Recognition Week takes place September 1 to 7. It is not too early to begin planning your events! The NACNS launched CNS Recognition Week in 2009 to honor and recognize the unique contributions that CNSs bring as leaders in healthcare. Last year, NACNS sponsored an excellent webinar with Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPh, RN, FAAN, discussing the role of the CNS in "Building a Culture of Health." The webinar was attended by 200 listeners and was posted to the NACNS Web site, in case you missed it. We are aligning the theme for the eighth annual National CNS Recognition Week with ANA's 2016 campaign on the "Culture of Safety." The safety of patients and staff is at the core of what CNSs do in their organizations. Therefore, the theme for 2016 National CNS Recognition Week is "The CNS: Leaders in Building a Culture of Safety." Again this year, we will have a CNS Week logo for members to use and CNS-branded items for sale. Last year, I bought NACNS pens and printed our CNS fact sheet and distributed these to the CNS students at my institution at the beginning of CNS week not only to raise their awareness about the event but also (and maybe more importantly) to introduce NACNS to them. I invite our members to post their CNS Week activities to the NACNS Facebook page- the hashtag #CNSWeek2016 and mention @NACNS in your tweets and social media posts.


I am pleased to report that the Conference Planning Committee is already hard at work developing a strong program for our 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference theme is "Tomorrow Belongs to Us: The Clinical Nurse Specialist Conquering Change in the Health Care Environment." The abstract submission site will open soon. I want to urge our members to consider submitting an abstract to present their work at the 2017 conference. In particular, there is a need for CNSs to share how they track their outcomes to support the value of their work in their organizations. We need to share how these outcomes are measured in terms of cost, either in cost savings or other benefits such as reduced readmissions. The annual conference is a fabulous place for exchanging ideas about new approaches to solving problems, expanding professional (and perhaps social) networks, discussing current legislative and regulatory issues while at the same time having some fun with your CNS colleagues. I hope to see you there!



The NACNS is excited to continue our high-quality webinar programming in 2016 to 2017; the theme for the year is "Pharmacology and Technology for the CNS." Because of the popularity of these webinars, we will be increasing the number of offerings to 1 per month!


These cutting-edge webinars will provide the CNS with contemporary clinical and role information. The topics were selected with an eye toward issues that cross specialties and may be seen in a variety of clinical situations.



What are you doing July 18 and 19? Why not plan a trip to Washington, DC, see the nation's capital, and join like-minded CNS colleagues in discussions that will impact the practice and future of the CNS!


Monday, July 18, is the 3rd Annual Educator's Forum, a half-day workshop for CNS educators and faculty. The Educator's Forum is an opportunity to hear discussions, including curriculum development, preceptor concerns, accreditation trends, education across the lifespan, and wellness to illness issues.


Tuesday, July 19, is the 15th Annual CNS Summit. The Summit allows the practicing CNS to meet with NACNS Board leaders, representatives from other national organizations, and CNSs across the nation to discuss the top issues and trends affecting healthcare. Participants should expect to discuss how the CNS can document outcomes, technology skills acquisition in acute care, and key state and federal legislative and regulatory issues impacting CNS practice.


E-mail mailto:info@nacns.orgm with "NACNS Forum and Summit" in the subject line for additional details.



The executive director of NACNS, Melinda Mercer Ray, and NACNS member Anita White represented the association at the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Foundation Industry Council Meeting in Washington, DC, in January. The AAMI is a nonprofit that assists with standards development of medical devices, sterilization, risk management, and interoperability and assists with educational programs for industry and hospitals, publications, and certification of healthcare technology specialists as well as provides summits with the Food and Drug Administration.


The meeting focused on whether there was a role for the AAMI Foundation in clinical preparation for nurses using complex healthcare technologies. The NACNS joined the meeting to make sure that the CNS voice was represented when discussing evidence-based practice and the impacts of technology on education and practice.


The work group, which consisted of representatives from The Joint Commission, American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, American Society of Healthcare Risk Managers, National Patient Safety Foundation, Masimo, Medtronic, Connexall, Hospira/Pfizer, Carefusion, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Boston Medical, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, and more, concluded that more work needs to be done and that a future group should further analyze and formulate a plan.



On February 12, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff submitted written comments on the competitive impact of a proposed bill to modify the supervision requirements imposed on advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in West Virginia. This bill would permit some APRNs, under limited conditions, to write prescriptions without a formal agreement with a particular supervising physician. It would also place the regulation of certain APRNs under the authority of the West Virginia Board of Medicine or Osteopathy.


The FTC's comment argues that undue regulatory restrictions on APRN practice can impose significant competitive costs on patients and third-party payors and may frustrate the development of innovative and effective models of team-based healthcare. The proposal "could benefit patients, as it would permit a route to independent prescribing, at least for some APRNs under certain conditions," but it "raises significant competitive concerns nonetheless, first because of the many conditions and exclusions it would impose on independent APRN prescribing, and second because of the regulatory conflicts of interest that appear to be inherent in the Bill's requirements of physician permission for and oversight of APRN prescribing."


Furthermore, the comment raises concerns about potential biases and conflicts of interest with respect to the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy.


The FTC urges the West Virginia state legislature to consider whether these proposed requirements are necessary to ensure patient safety, noting that removing unnecessary and burdensome requirements may benefit the state's consumers by increasing competition among healthcare providers. The comments were prepared by staff of the FTC's Office of Policy Planning and its Bureaus of Competition and Economics.



NACNS Urges Greater Funding for Nursing Education and Workforce Development

President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 included important investments in nursing education and nursing workforce development programs, but NACNS leaders warned that those investments should be much larger to address the national nursing shortage.


Current federal funding falls short of the amount needed to address the healthcare inequities facing our nation today. The funding proposed for Title VIII is not enough to generate quality health outcomes, nor will episodic increases in funding fill the gap generated by a more than 15-year nurse and nurse faculty shortage that has been felt throughout the US health system. Leaders of NACNS were also disappointed in the low level of funding for the National Institute for Nursing Research.


The NACNS urged Congress to make greater investments in healthcare for the coming fiscal year.


NACNS Calls for Emergency Funding to Combat Zika Virus

The recent Zika virus has had devastating effects on pregnant women and their babies. Leaders of NACNS called on Congress to authorize the president's request for emergency funding to combat this virus domestically and overseas. There is much unknown about the Zika virus. It is important that the United States work to help prevent further spread of the virus, to mitigate its impact, and to ensure US readiness and response. For more information on Zika, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site at


CNSs Say Investment in Opioid Abuse Much Needed

The NACNS applauded the president's call for $1.1 billion investment in addressing prescription opioid abuse and heroin use. The association's leaders cautioned that although it is important to examine the issue of opioid abuse, we must be sure that we do not stigmatize patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain. Pain is one of the primary reasons individuals see their healthcare provider, and it is important that we deal with each person's pain effectively. The NACNS is a member of the HHS Opioid Working Group.



Mary Fran Tracy, PhD, APRN, CNS, FAAN, an NACNS member and nurse leader, started a new joint nurse-scientist position on March 1. Created to build nursing research capacity and translate research into evidence-informed practice, Tracy will provide strategic direction for translating new discoveries into practice improvements.


Tracy will serve as a tenured associate professor in the School of Nursing and as a nurse scientist with M Health, working at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, among other locations.


"I am very excited to be able to combine my research and clinical experience to work with staff and leaders in advancing nursing and interdisciplinary research," said Tracy. "I see this role as a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the research partnership between the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and the system delivering care to patients and families daily."


"Creating this jointly funded position is an accomplishment of the Nursing Collaboratory, a partnership between the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and M Health, focused on building new and efficient joint initiatives between academia and clinicians which will generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge for the improvement of nursing practice and patient outcomes," said Connie White Delaney, dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota.


Tracy has served as an adjunct clinical professor with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and worked as a CNS in critical care at the University of Minnesota Medical Center for 18 years. She also holds an adjunct assistant professor position in the School of Medicine.



The NACNS is working to increase the visibility of the CNS role on social media to reach not only our members but also allied nursing and health organizations!


Make sure to "like" the updated Facebook page- receive updates in your newsfeed! Facebook is a great way to interact with professional colleagues and keep up with pertinent nursing issues.


The NACNS is also on Twitter! Take a moment to follow @NACNS- links to stories of CNSs in the news, resources, webinars, breaking association news, and more.


Using social media, it is easier than ever to stay informed and up-to-date about the comings and goings of NACNS leaders, board members and task forces. Follow NACNS on Facebook and Twitter today!



Washington Affiliate

On January 8, 2016, the Washington State Nursing Commission voted to amend the Advance Practice Rules to add the role of CNS. Although not perfect, this is an important step for Washington CNSs. There are still challenges, but they will continue this important work.


The Affiliate thanks Heather Schoonover for more than a decade of dedication to the cause. Below are a few notes from Heather:


* Washington State CNS can apply for licensure in March 2016.


* CNS has been added as a fourth designation to the Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) rules, the licensure designation will be ARNP-CNS. It is consistent with the naming of other advanced practice nurses in the state. This definition is in law and will require legislation to change.


* Washington State refers to all advanced practice nurses as ARNPs.


* A master's degree in nursing as a CNS is required.


* National certification as a CNS is required. There is no grandfathering clause.



A FAQ should be available on the Nursing Commission Web site.


The Affiliate will also e-mail the document. Washington State CNSs are asked to update their e-mail, either by contacting the chair at or via the open Facebook group-Clinical Nurse Specialists Washington State.


Minnesota Affiliate

The Minnesota Affiliate of NACNS has 86 members-students, novice-to-expert CNSs, and faculty make the group strong. Last year, the Affiliate focused on "Improving CNS Visibility Through Increasing Utilization of Social Media." A few 2015 highlights include developing Linked In and Facebook sites, biannual educational offerings during CNS meetings, participating in the Alzheimer's Walk, a large presence at the National CNS conference, quarterly newsletters, and hosting an annual conference. The conference "Technology & the CNS: The New Wave of Change" included interesting topics such as patient use of medical cannabis in hospital and ambulatory care areas, stress and resiliency, recognizing drug diversion, and CNS utilization of technology to identify patient acuity.


In 2016, the Minnesota Affiliate will continue to work to improve visibility of the CNS role and its impact on patient care through social media, connecting with the community through volunteer activities, involvement in professional conferences, mentoring nurses, and being preceptors for CNS students.


Texas Affiliate

Texas CNS is delighted to announce NACNS Board Member Tracy Chamblee, PhD, RN, PCNS-BC, as the keynote speaker for the 2016 conference, "Texas Clinical Nurse Specialists: Adapting to New Challenges." Jurisprudence and various adult, geriatric, and pediatric CE sessions will be offered. Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to receive pharmacology CE credits. A certification examination preparation course will be offered, also.


Conference registration opens in April. Details can be found at



Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (VaCNS) is actively promoting the role of the CNS on a number of fronts. Our Legislative Committee worked diligently throughout 2015 to create a bill that defined the CNS as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). At this writing, the bill has passed the both the House and Senate and is awaiting signature by the Governor. We are working with the Virginia Action Coalition Access to Care Workgroup creating actionable tools to inform the public about health and APRN practice. Dr Phyllis Whitehead co-leads this group. Most recently, the group has focused on creating presentations on health issues for the public. The first presentation on diabetes was developed by an APRN sub-group facilitated by our President, Dr Linda Thurby-Hay.


Our Program Planning team is led by Linda Jenkins, MSN, RN-BC, ACNS-BC with two conferences planned for 2016: 1) Spring conference with theme of "Changing Practice through Interprofessionalism and Legislation" (May 20th in Fredericksburg, VA); and 2) Pharmacology conference (September in Richmond, VA).


Finally, Dr Kimberly Nelson is facilitating the development of a qualitative research study focused on identifying barriers to CNS practice in Virginia, with a focus group planned during our annual conference in May.


*This activity has been submitted for approval for contract hours by the PA State Nurses Association. The PA State Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of continuing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. [Context Link]