1. Chamberlain, Barbara MSN, APRN, BC, CNS, CCRN
  2. Thomas, Janet MS, RN, C

Article Content

Problem and Significance

Keeping nurses in a health system informed of changes in policy while maintaining competency can be a challenge for the education department and the CNSs. Nurses who are unaware of changes or unfamiliar with updates are more likely to make errors in a variety of ways.



The purpose of the skills fairs was to reach all the nursing staff and some ancillary staff at our 3 campuses as well as the surgical and dialysis centers to update them on the latest developments in nursing and to meet JACHO requirements.


Description of the Project

The project was a 10-station skills fair given over a 6-week period at various times at each campus.



The CNS, education team, and administrators met earlier this year to decide what the important items were that needed to be covered and how many stations would be needed to deliver this information. Ten topics were chosen: pain management, myths surrounding advance directives, blood administration documentation, restraint alternatives, skin breakdown prevention, safety indicators, code amber (abduction), adolescent rights, glucometer certification, and preparation for surgery. Each member of the Skills Fairs Team agreed to oversee a station and prepare the presentation for that station. Each facilitator at the station gave a short talk updating the group of 6 to 8 people; this was followed by a quiz or demonstration to validate competency. The participants then moved on to the next station.


Outcomes and Evaluation of the Practice Change

All participants were required to evaluate the skills fair and offer suggestions for future fairs. Overall, the evaluations were very good. Participants are now aware of the various changes that have been implemented in the system and the CNSs are following up to make sure appropriate competencies are being employed.


Conclusions and Implications for Nursing

These highly successful skills fairs allowed the CNSs arid the education team to impart a great deal of information by having the nurses and staff come to them rather than conducting unit-to-unit in-services. Because everyone was required to attend, the chance of missing someone was reduced and the basis for compliance and competency increased. The nursing and ancillary staffs are now aware of clinically important updates and are monitored for competency.


Section Description

This year's annual NACNS conference is planned for Orlando, Fla, March 9-12, 2005. Over 300 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are expected to attend, and as with past conferences, attendees will also include graduate faculty from CNS programs, nurse administrators, and nurse researchers. The theme of the conference, CNS Leadership: Navigating the Healthcare Environment Toward Excellence, was selected to showcase the many ways CNSs acquire and disseminate knowledge and innovative practices in their specialty areas. Two preconference sessions are scheduled. One session, sponsored by NACNS Legislative/Regulatory Committee, targets information for CNSs interested in understanding the legislative/regulatory process as it deals with the practice of nursing, and will also help build skills CNSs need to engage in the process. The second session, sponsored by NACNS Education Committee, focuses on CNS education issues, and as with the education preconferences of past years, anticipates informative dialogue and much sharing among CNS educators around curriculum design, teaching strategies, and indicators of quality in the curriculum that link to the NACNS education standards to program review and excellence. The conference planning committee is proud and pleased to have Jeanette Ives Erickson, MS, RN, CNA, Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive of Massachusetts General Hospital as the opening keynote speaker. She will begin the conference by highlighting the importance of CNS practice on patient safety. The planning committee is equally proud and pleased to have NACNS past-president Rhonda Scott, PhD, RN, Chief Nursing Officer of Grady Health System as the closing speaker. Dr Scott will challenge attendees to use the information from the conference to shape quality care delivered in a safe environment and to advance the profession of nursing through direct care to clients, influencing standards of care delivered by other nurses, and influencing the healthcare delivery system to be to support innovative, cost-effective, quality nursing care. A total of 64 abstracts for podium and poster presentations were selected in addition to graduate student posters. The abstracts address the 3 spheres of CNS practice with a strong emphasis on clinical practice improvements. As you will note from the abstracts published in this issue of the journal, specialty practice areas represented in the abstracts include children, adults, and gerontological patient groups; hospital, outpatient, and home care settings, and community health. In addition, a wide variety of specialty topics including smoking cessation programs, end-of-life care issues, and protocols outlining nursing approaches to improved diabetes, cardiovascular and ventilator management. A number of the abstracts described hospital and healthcare system level innovations that resulted from CNS practice. Collectively, these abstracts reflect the breadth, depth, and richness of CNS contributions to the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities. The following abstracts are from those presenters who elected to have their work published in the journal so those who are unable to attend this year's conference can share in the knowledge of the conference. As you read each abstract, consider the talent and clinical scholarship of your CNS colleagues who are advancing the practice of nursing and contributing to improved outcomes for patients and healthcare organizations. You may want to contact individual presenters to network, collaborate, consult, or share your own ideas about these topics. Watch for next year's call for abstracts and consider submitting an abstract for presentation at NACNS's next conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15-18, 2006.