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

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Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope you found opportunities to relax, recharge, and reconnect with family, friends, and colleagues over the long holiday weekend.


This month, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) will hold its annual Educator's Forum (July 18) and Summit (July 19) in Washington, DC. The Educator's Forum will focus on current issues of concern to faculty such as the use of simulation, how specialization is reflected in the curriculum, development and retention of preceptors, and other curricular challenges. The summit will include panels on the changing clinical nurse specialist (CNS) practice environment and sessions on cost-effectiveness and technology-driven changes. Together, the forum and summit will address issues that affect the work that CNSs do in academic and practice settings.


We live in a complex, ever-changing world where many forces (eg, social, political, regulatory, economic, and personal factors) strive to influence us. For example, the Affordable Care Act has launched initiatives designed to improve access to healthcare while reducing costs. While aspects of this legislation are challenging, it presents us with tremendous opportunities for leveraging the CNS's expertise in improving patients' health outcomes. We saw stellar examples of CNS-led initiatives to improve healthcare quality, maintain patient safety, reduce hospital readmissions, increase cost savings, and facilitate patients' transitions across care settings at the 2016 NACNS conference. Given the changing times in which we live, it is fitting that the theme for the 2017 annual conference is "Tomorrow Belongs to Us: The Clinical Nurse Specialist Conquering Change in the Health Care Environment." The 2017 conference planning committee is developing an excellent program with stimulating, knowledgeable presenters. The conference is scheduled for March 9 to 11, 2017, in Atlanta with pharmacology preconference workshops available on March 8. The abstract deadline is August 3, 2016. Please consider submitting an abstract to share your work with your colleagues.


Be sure to mark your calendars for National CNS Recognition Week, September 1 to 7. The theme for 2016 is: "The CNS: Leaders in Building a Culture of Safety." Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association, will present a free webinar, "Changing the Climate: Creating a Culture of Safety," sponsored by NACNS on September 1, 2016, to celebrate CNS Week. While the webinar is free, because of space limitations the registration is limited to the first 200 registrants.


NACNS thrives on the efforts and support of its members. The Chronic Care Task Force, the Alarm Fatigue Task Force, and the Malnutrition Task Force are developing reports on their work to share with the membership. The Research Priorities Task Force and the Statement on CNS Practice and Education Task Force held forums at the 2016 annual conference to get feedback from members to help shape their work over this year. In addition to committees and task forces, we have launched microvolunteering activities this year. Microvolunteering refers to the time commitment (ie, short-term, rapid turnaround) and is not meant to indicate that the activity is a "minor" one. For example, NACNS was invited to endorse the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association's Consensus Statement on Proficiencies for the APRN Gerontological Specialist. We invited several of our gerontological CNS members to review the document and make a recommendation to the board within 1 month. Their careful thorough reviews informed our follow-up communication with the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association.


Throughout the year, NACNS sends out requests for volunteers who would be interested in serving on various working groups. Some of these are short-term microvolunteering opportunities; others require a greater time commitment such as task forces and committees. In addition, the call for nominations for positions on the Board of Directors and the Nominations Committee will be posted soon. If you have not taken advantage of these opportunities in the past, I want to urge you to consider submitting your name and curriculum vitae for inclusion in the pool of volunteers who can be selected to serve. The diversity of perspectives that members bring to these working groups helps the organization meet its mission and remain current with emerging healthcare and legislative/regulatory initiatives.


Finally, I want to express my gratitude to our current committee and task force chairs, cochairs, and members for the time they contribute to NACNS. These volunteers provide yeoman's service to the organization. They commit their time, creative energies, and reflective analytical skills to address issues of concern to CNSs. Thank you.



NACNS is excited to continue our high-quality webinar programming in 2016-2017; 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 the most up-to-date 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.

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At the 2016 annual meeting in March, NACNS task forces and committees reported on their progress. Key highlights from each follow. Additional updates are available in the member section of the NACNS Web site.


DNP Task Force

The DNP Task Force completed NACNS' position statement on the doctor of nursing practice in June and hosted 2 open forum webinars in September to hear feedback from members. Task force member Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN-CNS AOCN, assistant professor, director of Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, and codirector of Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, presented the DNP position statement at American Association of Colleges of Nursing's 2016 Doctoral Education Conference in January.


Malnutrition Task Force

The Malnutrition Task Force conducted 2 webinars in 2015, and one is scheduled for January 2017, which will address pharmacology and nutrition. This task force developed a CNS model for practice and created the institutional review board for study of CNS practices related to nutrition and malnutrition. The information will be presented to the Board in 2016 and released to members after it is approved.


Research Priorities Task Force

Since its formation in February, the Research Priorities Task Force completed a literature review to establish research priorities and presented them at the annual conference in March. Task Force members are currently working on research priorities for the association.


CNS Practice and Education Task Force

Task Force members gathered feedback from 2015 Summit and Educators' Forum attendees in order to direct the revision of the statement. The NACNS Board of Directors approved the key principles from each section of the Statement on CNS Practice and Education in 2015. This task force will meet biweekly in 2016 to complete a draft revision of the statement.


Affiliate Advisory Committee

Since this committee began in August, it has held monthly meetings and developed an affiliate survey, which will be used to strengthen the relationship between NACNS and its affiliates. Survey testing is expected to happen soon, and the complete survey will be rolled out in mid-2016.


Education Committee

This year, members of the Education Committee reviewed and revised CNS Educator and CNS Preceptor Award criteria and reviewed webinars and other offerings by other national organizations to determine their impact on CNSs. They also developed materials for the Clinical Nurse Specialist: The International Journal for Advanced Nursing Practice and worked with summit and conference committee members to plan educational offerings.


Legislative/Regulatory Committee

NACNS has revised its public policy agenda to reflect changes in the political landscape and the impact on CNS practice. Members of the committee are working on articles for publication on opioid use and state-by-state CNS practice authority. Members also assisted states-such as New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington-with scope of practice and barriers to practice issues. Committee members are working with NACNS Affiliates to gather information on legislative trends affecting CNSs across the country.


Membership Committee

Committee members worked with Fernley & Fernley staff on recommendations for the new membership categories identified by the 2015 Bylaws vote. Members are also addressing the usability of the CNS listserv and raising awareness of the CNS listserv as a member benefit.


Nominating Committee

Committee members discussed a number of policies for the nomination process, including criminal background checks for nominees to the board. The committee finished editing job descriptions for each board office and the nominee confidentiality agreement.


Practice Committee

Committee members reviewed standards and statements from various organizations, paying special attention to the inclusion of the CNS role when referring to advanced practice nursing. The committee also presented on the CNS role at the 2016 NACNS annual meeting.


Research Committee

Committee members submitted an article to NACNS' CNS Communique newsletter and comments on the proposed International Association of Clinical Research Nurses' Scope and Standards. In addition, the group selected the NACNS 2016 Researcher of the Year, created criteria to implement research mentors for members, and recommended improvements to the research section of the NACNS Web site.



September 1 to 7 is National CNS Recognition Week, a time when hospitals and healthcare systems pay tribute to and build awareness of the important role that CNSs play in ensuring that patients receive high-quality care based on the best and most recent research evidence.

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This year, the theme for CNS Week is "The Clinical Nurse Specialist: Vital Link in Health Care Reform."


To help you and your colleagues work with your hospital or healthcare system to publicize National CNS Recognition Week, we have developed a set of materials that you will find on the NACNS Web site, including the following:


* the 2016 CNS Recognition Week logo


* a guide with ideas for celebrating National CNS Recognition Week


* a flyer


* a sample proclamation


* a fact sheet


* a template article for your institution's newsletter or Web site


* a template letter to the editor and instructions for submitting it


* sample Tweets (using #CNSWeek) and Facebook posts



We would also love to share photographs of this year's events on our Facebook page. Please send photographs, along with the name of the hospital or healthcare system, the city and state, and a description of the activity to We will post as many as possible on the Facebook page.


Also look for NACNS logo items for sale! Go to and click on the CNS Week logo for more information.



Now more than ever, CNSs are poised to make significant contributions to advancing the health of the nation. Innovative healthcare delivery, overcoming challenges, and increased visibility of CNS practice outcomes are key themes that will be explored at the NACNS 2017 conference, to be held March 9 to 11, 2017, at Loews Atlanta Hotel. Clinical nurse specialists and students are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts for "The Clinical Nurse Specialist Conquering Change in the Health Care Environment" that address


* cost outcomes of CNS care;


* assessment and management of pain;


* care transitions;


* clinical management and cutting-edge issues;


* impact of state/national policy on health care;


* innovations in education and practice, including technology;


* interprofessional approaches to care; and


* pharmacology for the CNS.



The conference will include general plenary and keynote presentations, poster sessions, and breakout sessions. (Note: Breakout sessions are 75 minutes long.) NACNS is accepting abstracts for individual podium presentations, poster presentations, collaborative symposiums, and clinical management lectures. Pharmacology credits will be offered for eligible sessions.


The deadline for abstract submission is August 3. The student poster submission deadline is December 5. More information can be found at



Central Indiana Organization of Clinical Nurse Specialists

It has been an exciting 2016 for the Central Indiana Organization of Clinical Nurse Specialists (CIOCNS). The affiliate was honored to receive the 2016 Affiliate of the Year Award from NACNS! Many members were in Philadelphia to share in this honor. Advancing the practice of nursing and promoting the role of the CNS in the Hoosier State remains a strategic priority.


Among CIOCNS key efforts are establishing and endowing of a fellowship to assist graduate students with the costs associated with CNS education, creating comprehensive strategic plan aligned with that of NACNS, and strategic partnering with additional Indiana APN groups on legislative efforts.


Effective January 1, 2016, the Indiana Health Coverage Programs will allow certain enrolled advanced practice nurses to serve as primary medical providers within its managed care programs.


The seventh Annual Fall CIOCNS Conference will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Please visit for more details.


Dr Brenda Lyon was recognized at the Indiana University Spirit of Philanthropy Luncheon this past April. There is now a Brenda L. Lyon Endowed Chair in Symptom Management Nursing at the Indiana University School of Nursing.


Northeast Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialist

The Northeast Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialist (NEOCNS) has chosen to combine learning and networking with community service. In February, NEOCNS sponsored a "Speed Book" sharing program. Participants brought a favorite book that they found integral to their work as a CNS. Each participant shared how the book had influenced her practice. Children's books were collected, and 59 brand new books were collected and donated to the Cleveland Little Free Library Program.


In April, an all-day program, entitled "Positioning your GPS for Clinical Leadership," was facilitated by Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN. The day was spent contemplating and generating ideas to promote CNS practice and strategies to continue to grow and expand the affiliate. Items for newborns were collected for a pregnant women's shelter.


To celebrate, National CNS week, NEOCNS will be sponsoring the second annual CNS-CNO Networking Breakfast on September 7, 2016. The featured speaker will be Rebecca Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, FAAN, former president of ANA. Ms Patton will be addressing the theme of CNS activism and healthcare policy.


Stand Up and Be Counted: Take the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists 2016 Workforce Survey

Survey is open to all nurses who were educated as clinical nurse specialists. Clinical nurse specialists are valuable healthcare resources. In recognition of the importance of the role, the NACNS Board of Directors has directed the association to collect crucial national data on the demographics, education, and practice of the CNS. If you are a CNS, we need your participation. Please visit and click on the 2016 CNS Census icon to take the survey.


NACNS designed the first survey, the 2014 CNS Census, to capture information about people who identify themselves as or who were educated as CNSs. It was the first national survey of the CNS workforce. An infographic on the NACNS Web site summarizes key data from the 2014 survey.


NACNS has partnered with University of San Diego, California, PhD nursing students to refine the survey and improve shorten the length of time it takes to complete it. Don't miss the chance to be part of this important initiative!


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