1. Clement, Mary Ann MSN, RN, CRNP
  2. Harne-Britner, Sarah MSN, RN, CCRN
  3. Biagio, Teresa MSN, RN, CNS

Article Content


"Ask the Expert" was developed by clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) within the Nursing Research Council to promote clinical inquiry skills by assisting nurses in finding evidence-based answers to their clinical questions.



The CNS has the role and responsibility to promote clinical inquiry skills in nursing staff.



Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a problem-solving approach to clinical practice that integrates the conscientious use of best evidence in combination with a clinican's expertise, as well as patient preferences and values to make decisions about the type of care that is provided. Two common barriers to the implementation of EBP are lack of time and lack of knowledge of the process. "Ask the Expert" service was developed to address these barriers.



A subgroup of the Research Council, which consists of 4 CNSs within Pinnaclehealth, provides a service for nurses to ask their clinical question (via Web site or written submission) and receive an evidence-based timely response. A PowerPoint presentation was developed by the CNS group and placed on the research Web site to allow convenient question submission. After submitting the question, the CNS and librarian review the literature and respond by using the designed template. The information is shared and reviewed with the nurse submitting the question. An evaluation by the nurse completes the process. In addition, an educational PowerPoint presentation was placed on the Web site to assist the nurse in developing a researchable question.



Nineteen clinical questions have been received and answered by nurses from a variety of clinical areas and roles. Evaluations received have indicated that the service has resulted in practice changes.



"Ask the Expert" is a well-utilized service led by the CNS group to promote clinical inquiry through a user-friendly process, available at the point of care.


Implications for Practice:

This service is key in allowing all nursing levels to become interested and educated on EBP in their own working environments. This supports the 3 spheres of influence of the CNS.


Section Description

The 2009 NACNS National Conference will be held in St Louis, Missouri, on March 5 to 7. More than 350 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), graduate faculty, nurse administrators, nurse researchers, and graduate students are registered. This year's theme, "Clinical Nurse Specialists: Vision, Value, Voice," demonstrates the essential leadership skills of the CNS as well as the CNS role in implementing evidence-based practice.


Seventy abstracts were selected for either podium or poster presentations. Again, this year, there is a CNS student poster session. The abstracts addressed CNS practice in 3 practice domains (spheres of influence), emphasizing patient safety and quality care outcomes, leadership, evidence-based practice, and new ways to shape CNS practice. Topics include CNS work activities incorporated into 3 spheres of influence-patients, nursing practice, organization/system-including the development of clinical inquiry skills among staff nurses, use of simulation technology, strategies to maintain clinical excellence, CNS practice in end-of-life care decisions, and many new and thoughtful ideas to support CNS education, practice, and research. Collectively, the abstracts represent the breadth, depth, and richness of the CNSs' contribution to the well-being of individuals, families, communities, as well as to the advancement of the nursing profession.


The conference abstracts were published here to facilitate sharing this emerging new knowledge with those who were unable to attend the conference. As you read each abstract, appreciate the intellectual talent and clinical scholarship of your CNS colleagues who are advancing the practice of nursing and contributing to the health of society through improved outcomes for patients and healthcare organizations. We encourage you to contact individual presenters to network, collaborate, consult, or share your thoughts and ideas on the conference topics. Watch out for next year's call for abstracts and consider submitting for presentation at NACNS' next annual conference in Portland, Oregon, on March 4 to 6, 2010.