1. Chamblee, Tracy B. PhD, APRN, PCNS-BC, CPHQ, CPPS

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At a recent Board of Directors meeting, we did something different. I started the meeting with a Mission Moment. My goal in doing so was to remind the Board of Directors of why we are all here-to lead National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) and not get bogged down in process, procedure, and policies. It's easy to do. Many organizations start meetings with a Mission Moment to inspire others and bring visibility to their work. If you are not familiar with the concept of a Mission Moment, let me share what I think is the best definition of the term. A Mission Moment is a story about a person/people, an obstacle they faced, and how the organization helped them overcome the obstacle. In short, a Mission Moment is a powerful tool that we should use to help us tell others how NACNS is making an impact. Below is the Mission Moment that I shared with the Board:



In the late 1980s, groups of clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) were meeting and hosting local and regional conferences in California, Indiana, and Ohio. At that time, the American Nurses Association (ANA) dissolved the CNS Council and established the Council of Nurses in Advanced Practice. The dissolution of the CNS Council concerned CNSs around the country because of the loss of a national voice to illustrate the contributions of the CNS role.


During the 1992 National CNS Conference at Indiana University, Brenda Lyon asked participants if they believed a national association was needed. The response was a resounding YES. Lyon along with other fellow CNSs including Jan Bingle, JoEllen Rust, Julie Painter, Rhonda Scott, Sue Davidson, and Kathleen Vollman set to work to draft a constitution, bylaws, and a framework for what is now the NACNS. In the beginning, faculty and staff at the Indiana University School of Nursing supported the work to establish NACNS.


In 1994, at the National CNS Conference in Indianapolis, Lyon and the group presented a constitution and bylaws for the new organization. On that day, 69 charter members joined. In 1995, Innovisions, an arm of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, volunteered to provide management oversight for the new association, and NACNS became a legal entity. On September 30, 1995, NACNS held its first official national meeting on the campus of Indiana University.


Next, NACNS convened a Statement Development Committee to develop the original NACNS Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education. The statement was published in 1998 and was the first national endeavor to articulate the competencies and outcomes of contemporary CNS practice and outline essential educational standards for preparing CNSs.


In the association's first 18 months, membership grew from 67 to 530 members. In the years since, NACNS has increased its membership to more than 2000 members; preserved a peer-reviewed journal; created numerous task forces to address the CNS role in crucial healthcare issues; generated policy papers and white papers; and increased awareness among policy makers, other health professionals, and the public about the central role CNSs play in ensuring evidence-based care that improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare costs.


This important historical information is posted on the NACNS website and was recently updated by Jan Powers, NACNS Board of Director at Large, and other fellow members. When Jan shared the document with me, I instantly knew that sharing this story was the best choice for our first official Mission Moment. I later realized there are 3 important reasons to share this story: (1) to remind the Board of why we are all here-it's easy for us to get caught up in day-to-day operations; (2) in 2020, NACNS will celebrate its 25th anniversary in the city where NACNS was founded, Indianapolis; and (3) NACNS recently released the third edition of the NACNS Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education. Thank you to Linda Thurby-Hay, Ludy Santiago-Rotchford, cochairs for the 2020 Annual Conference Planning Committee, and the committee members. They are hard at work planning the best conference for you. Thank you also to the 2019 NACNS Statement on Clinical Nurse Practice and Education Task Force members: Carol Manchester (chair), Sherri Atherton, Kathy A. Baker, Niloufar Niakosari Hadidi, Mary Beth Modic, Mary Fran Tracy, Jane Walker, and Terri Nally. And thank you to Anne Hysong, immediate past president, for ensuring this important document was finalized and published.


It is truly an exciting time for NACNS, but there is more we all can do to move our mission forward. I am asking all NACNS affiliates, committees, and taskforces to implement the sharing of a Mission Moment at the start of every meeting. Start today. I promise, it will change your meetings. A final thought to consider, as we start sharing these stories, we should consider sharing them with others via social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, as a strategy to create visibility of the CNS role. The Mission Moment, a simple, but powerful tool. Let's start using it.



New in 2020 the Annual NACNS Educators Forum will be incorporated into the Annual Conference. The Forum will be held as a pre-conference event adjacent to the annual conference. The education committee is currently developing the agenda based on feedback from members attending previous meetings. Formerly held in July, the Forum was an additional travel expense occurring during peak vacation time for families. Incorporating the Forum into the conference will allow more members to attend while reducing expenses. Plan to attend and join the conversation about the future of clinical nurse specialist education. Check out updates at

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