1. Fowler, Kimberly A. MSN, RN
  2. Harne-Britner, Sarah MSN, RN, CCRN

Article Content


Beyond initial orientation, telemetry nurses attend annual competency evaluation and education to maintain current practice. As an educator, the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is challenged to deliver informative, evidence-based, and interactive education to the bedside nurse. This CNS team collaborated with the education department to incorporate simulation technology into annual competency programs.



Previous competency program evaluations revealed that nurses prefer hands-on, interactive education over a lecture format. Nurses also commented that they lack confidence with equipment that they utilize intermittently at point of care. The integration of simulation technology into competency programs provided an opportunity for nurses to increase communication, critical thinking, and technical skills in a nonthreatening environment.



Simulation technology has been widely used by the military and medical students since the 1990s and by schools of nursing for more than 10 years. Research has shown that nurses increase their skill acquisition and critical thinking and are more satisfied in this team approach to learning.



The CNSs developed 4 simulations (groin bleed postcardiac catheterization, pulmonary edema, acute myocardial infarction, and bradycardia from pacemaker failure) based on actual patient scenarios. Each simulation included learning objectives for critical assessment skills and interventions. A group of 4 to 5 nurses participated in the simulation laboratory, whereas another group of 4 to 5 nurses observed via monitor. A skills checklist for documenting the interventions and team behaviors was completed by the observation group. Immediate debriefing with the entire group provided performance feedback.



Participant evaluations averaged 4.5 on a 5 to 1 scale when rating simulation technology as being realistic and helpful to clinical situations. Participant experiences validated research with comments regarding simulation technology as an "interactive, almost human-like, safe way to practice emergency care."



Education using simulation technology provides the most lifelike opportunity to practice skills, promotes critical thinking, and enhances teamwork.


Implications for Practice:

Anecdotal comments supported the educational benefits of simulation technology. Further investigation is needed to determine how experience affects clinical decision making at point of care.


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.