1. Filipovich, Christine Carson MSN, RN

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Christine Filipovich is the current Executive Director for the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS). When NACNS was looking for a new association management company, Chris and her company, Professional Nursing Resources, Inc., was selected. One of the primary advantages of having Christine as the Executive Director has been that she is a CNS. She understands the role and its contribution to patients, nursing, and organizations. She understands the unique professional, public, and regulatory networks important to an association devoted to CNSs. In her interview with the Board of the NACNS, she expressed that it was her "moral imperative" to serve this organization.


What first motivated you to become a CNS?

As an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University, I was encouraged to obtain my master's degree. When I looked at graduate programs and ended up staying at Case Western, I could select a clinical, teaching, or administration focus for my master's. There was no question at all about which one was for me-the CNS would keep me centered on patient care.


What, if any, professional or career issues did you face early in your career as a CNS?

When I entered practice as a CNS, there was a world of opportunity. My educational preparation afforded great mobility, and the CNS was in great demand. In addition, I was socialized to the CNS role in its many dimensions, so there were few limitations to where and how I could apply my advanced education and skills. The issues I faced are the same as many CNSs face today. The role of CNS was unfamiliar in the community where I first practiced, so I had the luxury of defining it but also the sometimes-exhausting duty to define what it was NOT. In addition, there was no state statutory recognition of the CNS (and there still is not in Pennsylvania and other states today).


What do you perceive are the key issues for CNS practice today?

Defining CNS practice as unique. The "advanced practice" umbrella term has homogenized CNSs with 3 other groups. When regulatory agencies, members of other professions, and some members of our own profession make no distinction between the practice of CNSs and that of other advanced practice groups, CNSs are forced to fit into models that are confining and inappropriate.


To date, what do you perceive as your greatest accomplishments as a CNS?


* As a new CNS, establishing the role within a private obstetrics/gynecologic practice.


* Establishing, with an addictions expert colleague, a program for addicted pregnant women and their children, which is now in its 12th year, is still growing, and has been recognized as a model program.


* Starting my own company, Professional Nursing Resources, Inc.


What do you enjoy or value most about the role of a CNS?

That, as a CNS, my horizons have been limited only by my own circumstances or decisions. I believe that the multidimensional knowledge and skills of a CNS equip one for limitless professional possibilities.


What advice would you give a new CNS starting out in this role?


* Whenever possible, identify what distinguishes your practice from your non-CNS colleagues and articulate that in ways that explicate your unique contributions.


* Find other CNSs with whom to network. Stimulate and support each other.


* Consider yourself a "work in progress" personally and professionally. CNSs are equipped to be on the cutting edge and to forge ahead into uncharted new territory. To be effective, you must give yourself permission to constantly evolve as a person and as a professional. To quote Anais Nin, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."