1. Urden, Linda DNSc, RN, CAN, BC, FAAN
  2. Heye, Mary PhD, RN, APRN,BC
  3. Waldo, Mary PhD, MS, CNS, Conference Co-Chairs
  4. Babb, Deanna L. MN, APRN,BC, FNP
  5. O'Malley, Lynn MN, APRN,BC, FNP

Article Content

This year's annual NACNS conference is planned for Salt Lake City on March 15-18, 2006. 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: Soaring to New Heights, was selected to showcase the many ways CNSs acquire and disseminate knowledge and innovative practices in their specialty areas and their impact on outcomes.


Two preconference sessions are scheduled. One session, sponsored by the 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 the NACNS Education Committee, focuses on CNS education issues. As with the education preconferences of past years, there will be informative dialogue and much sharing among CNS educators around curriculum design, teaching strategies, and indicators of quality in the curriculum which link to the NACNS education standards. Interdisciplinary collaborative education will be the emphasis for this year's session.


The conference planning committee is proud and pleased to have Gladys Campbell, MSN, RN, Assistant Administrator for Nursing and Patient Care at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, as the opening keynote speaker. She will begin the conference by defining success in the CNS role from an administrative perspective. The planning committee is equally proud and pleased to have Pat Quigley, PhD, ARNP, CRRN, Deputy Director, VISN 8 Patient Safety Center in Tampa, Florida, as the closing keynote speaker. Dr Quigley will challenge CNSs to critically evaluate evidence and to integrate evidence into their practice for the purpose of transforming care and generating innovations within healthcare organizations.


Sixty-four 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 to a wide variety of specialty topics, presentations will include rapid response teams, CNS role development and transition, graduate education, end-of-life care issues, and protocols outlining nursing approaches to improve 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 Phoenix, February 28-March 3, 2006.


Methods to Promote Graduate Education and Nursing Research for Rural Nurses: Cafe Grad School

Montana State University College of Nursing, Great Falls, MT



(1) To provide information about graduate school opportunities at Montana State University College of Nursing to nurses in rural areas of Montana. (2) To provide information about current statewide research projects underway in the College of Nursing at Montana State University. (3) To facilitate dialogue between the College of Nursing faculty and area nurses to provide insight into issues facing rural nurses and community residents.



Thirty-five critical access hospitals, 10 small hospitals, 8 urban hospitals, clinics, and public health departments throughout Montana were targeted as sites for Cafe Grad School to visit. The specific aim of this study was to pilot test the usefulness of taking information about nursing graduate school opportunities and nursing research projects directly to rural and urban nurses.



Cafe Grad School was conceived in spring 2003 by faculty with the purpose of promoting the graduate program through informal faculty discussion with potential graduate students about the graduate nursing program options and to disseminate the College of Nursing's ongoing research for rural nurses. The faculty was able to network with nurses, offering support and eliciting nurses' perceptions and insight into healthcare issues.



Cafe Grad School was mobilized using wide format (36 x 72 in) rollout posters outlining graduate options and how to apply. College of Nursing research projects were displayed for 1 week. Faculty were available for dialogue during an MSU-sponsored box lunch on the initial and final days of the display.



Initial findings indicate that bringing information directly to busy staff nurses is well received.



This project, which began in the spring of 2005, is still in process. Nurses evaluate the presentation through an online survey. Results to date have been favorable regarding Cafe Grad School posters. Applications for graduate school have increased since using this format.