1. Thompson, Cathy J. PhD, RN, CNS

Article Content


To describe an educational strategy for teaching components of the change agent role for CNS practice.



A major role of the CNS is to influence practice change. CNS students need to learn the theory and components of change, but putting the theory into practice provides multiple benefits for the student and the institutions in which they are doing their clinical hours.



CNSs act as translators of research/evidence into practice for their staff and other colleagues. The change agent role is a major focus of CNS practice. The ability for the student to "practice" the work of a CNS provides confidence in their skills for future challenges. The institutions that provide preceptors for CNS students benefit from the student's involvement in introducing clinical and professional change.



This session will describe the purpose and components of an Evidence-Based Change Project required of all CNS students at The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. The project starts in the first of 3 specialty core CNS classes and terminates in the last class. The steps of the development, implementation, and evaluation of the change project will be outlined. Students learn how to disseminate information in oral and poster formats, as well as get experience in writing abstracts.



The first cohort of CNS students produced 13 Evidence-Based Change Projects affecting multiple communities and constituencies. Students presented their final projects as posters and abstracts to the class and their clinical sites, the posters were displayed for faculty and the student body, and some students have submitted their posters to regional and national conferences. Examples will be shared.



The structure of the Change Projects allows CNS students to work through the steps of evidence-based practice changes and prepared the student for the CNS role as a change agent.


Implications for Practice:

The shared content of professional role and clinical expertise is important for CNS students to learn to function as a CNS. The CNS student also learns presentation and dissemination skills, important to the CNS role. The projects give back to the institutions that helped support their clinical education through precepted experiences.