1. Curl, Peggy MSN, ARNP, WOCN
  2. Bradley, Dora PhD, RN

Article Content


The CNS is often challenged to create programs in response to population-based needs. Frequently, in the rush to meet the need, programs are planned and implemented before an evaluation plan is developed to measure effectiveness. However, an effective evaluation is a "powerful" tool to provide information to make decisions, measure impact, and justify continuation.



To develop and implement a comprehensive program evaluation designed to attain useful information to guide decisionmaking, improve outcomes, and determine the value of a new inpatient surgical bariatic program.



The program evaluation was developed using process and outcome variables identified as indicators of best practice and important to stakeholders. Significant measures were complication rates, cost benefit, length of stay, satisfaction, and environmental factors.



The evaluation plan was based on questions reflecting critical variables identified through national benchmarking and stakeholders' expectations. Reliable and valid measures were identified or created. Specific data collection and analysis processes were delineated. A formal communication strategy was designed for respective stakeholders.



Through ongoing evaluation, numerous areas for improvement were identified. Changes included new equipment, patient room redesign, and sensitivity training for the interdisciplinary team. Analysis also demonstrated variation in preoperative preparation for bariatic patients. Subsequently, consistent standards were implemented incorporating critical components supported by best practice.


Implications for Practice

Comprehensive evaluation plans with reliable and valid measures provide avenues to validate change and increase program support. Adding this vital competency to the CNSs repertoire enhances their contribution and value to today's dynamic healthcare organization.


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.