1. Dresser, Susan PhD
  2. Fowler, Sue PhD
  3. Bassett, Rick MSN

Article Content

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) is the only organization representing and supporting the unique role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). It has more than 2000 members and represents the more than 70 000 clinical nurse specialists working in hospitals and health systems, clinics and ambulatory settings, and colleges and universities today. The NACNS Legislative/Regulatory Committee, one of several NACNS member committees, provides guidance to the NACNS Board of Directors on key issues impacting graduate programs, faculty, students, and national accrediting and credentialing bodies. The committee members provide support, representation, and advocacy for our members and all CNSs through our partnership with other nursing organizations to create relationships and support critical legislative and regulatory efforts.


One of these partner organizations is the Nursing Community Coalition (NCC), which includes 63 members representing organizations that are the cross section of education, practice, research, and regulation within the nursing profession. The purpose of NCC is to promote wellness, advance research through scientific discovery, and provide timely access to care across the continuum. Their advocacy and engagement efforts are guided by core principles that focus on the contributions of nurses and the nursing community. Among these 63 members is NACNS representation from within our Legislative/Regulatory Committee membership.


In collaboration with the other organizations represented by the NCC, NACNS has taken several actions during the last few months. The following items summarize these actions. First, a welcome letter was sent to the new Director of National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Nursing Research in August 2020. The NCC and National Institute of Nursing Research recognize the critical contributions made by nurses, including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), to deliver high-quality, lifesaving, preventive, and palliative healthcare across all care settings, geographic areas, and social determinants of health. Central to that work is innovative and impactful research.


Second, in September 2020, NACNS signed onto a letter to the US House Veteran's Affairs Committee about the Cadet Nurse Corps. This letter was signed by NACNS and 60 other nursing organizations in support of the Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act of 2019. The Act recognizes the nurses who served as members of the US Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II. It also provides them with honorable discharges, medal privileges, and burial benefits for cemeteries administered under the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Third, in September 2020, NACNS signed onto a letter to the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services entitled "Barriers to Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Practice." The purpose of this letter was to formally express our interest, along with several other APRN organizations, in the request for a meeting about the Administration's efforts to remove barriers to APRN practice.


Finally, in October 2020, NACNS signed onto a letter to the House and Senate majority and minority leaders entitled, "NCC Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Letter." The FAAN Act aligned with NCC's and NACNS's work and mission by supporting the cornerstone of the profession and nursing education during this pandemic and as we prepare for future public health threats. The FAAN Act aims to provide federal resources to schools of nursing where they are needed the most, such as in medically underserved locations, health professional shortage areas, or a minority-serving institution.


In summary, the NACNS Legislative and Regulatory Committee is dedicated to supporting our members through continued efforts to look for and act upon opportunities that will represent, advocate for, and advance the CNS role. Our goal is to help keep you informed of these activities, and as such, we plan to provide updates, information, and guidance on these activities and other legislative and regulatory topics.