1. Doody, Owen MSc, BSc, RNID

Article Content


The aim of this study was to identify the contribution of clinical nurse specialist (CNS) posts to intellectual disability (ID) nursing, family, and service users within Ireland.



Society and service attitudes to ID have changed, evolving from a narrow focused custodial care to the emergence of specialized and differentiated services. The range and expansion of care settings highlight the need for a partnership approach with a greater focus on integration in school, work, and community. This has fueled the development of a diverse range of specialist posts across a variety of practice settings in disability services in Ireland. Overall, this study identifies the contribution that CNSs make to care delivery and contributes to the existing knowledge available on CNSs and specifically to the area of ID, highlighting future developments required to support service providers and users.



A qualitative design was chosen to gain the views and perceptions of practising CNSs through the use of focus group interviews.



Five focus group interviews (n = 30 CNSs) were conducted to identify their contribution to care delivery within intellectual disability nursing in Ireland. Thematic analysis conducted using Burnard's (2006) framework.



Data analysis identified that CNSs contribute to a range of areas such as client care and supporting family, staff, organization, community, and other agencies.



This study has provided an insight into the views and experiences of CNSs working within ID services in Ireland, highlighting the importance of care delivery from all perspectives, be it client, family, staff, organization, or society as a whole.


Implications for Practice:

This study has enabled a questionnaire to be designed to survey the views of all CNSs and nursing grades regarding the contribution of CNSs.


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.