1. Canfield, Christina MSN, RN, CNS
  2. Coughlin, Rose MSN, RN, CNS
  3. Jacobson, Ann PhD, RN
  4. Ludwick, Ruth PhD, RNC, CNS

Article Content


This collaborative faculty-student poster presents one CNS program's curricular strategies for developing, applying, and evaluating students' competencies in outcome planning and evaluation.



The importance of outcome measurement has long been emphasized by CNSs, and effecting nurse-sensitive and other outcomes has been the hallmark of CNS success. This project shows how CNS faculty can bridge the gap between education and the real world of the CNS in developing outcomes-based programs.



The NACNS Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education emphasizes the importance of developing CNS competencies for evaluating patient, CNS practice, and nurse-sensitive outcomes. Therefore, to adequately prepare students for CNS practice, educational programs must provide foundational experiences in planning and evaluating programs for nurse-sensitive outcomes.



Prerequisite knowledge and skills for developing an outcomes project and their introduction throughout the CNS curriculum in core and clinical courses are identified. Using exemplars of completed student projects in such areas as medication reconciliation, heart failure guideline implementation, and palliative care, this poster details the processes used and the outcomes achieved by students in their capstone practicum experience. The 4 stages involved in planning and executing the projects, including barriers and facilitators, are outlined. Peer, faculty,and self-evaluation methods for the project are presented.



Seven students completed the projects in May 2006. Students, preceptors, and faculty members returned overall positive evaluations of the educational and clinical importance of the learning experience. Areas for improvement included the need for earlier development of organizational assessment skills and for a longer time frame to fully implement and evaluate the project. Several of the projects have been incorporated as ongoing initiatives in the clinical agencies, in some cases with students continuing as ongoing consultants.



The course outcomes project is an effective tool for bridging the gap between CNS education and practice in developing student competency for the CNS role.


Implications for Practice:

The project highlighted the importance of core content in advanced practice nursing education, including research, ethics, culture, and healthcare policy.