1. Reynolds, Mary Anne Hales PhD, RN, ACNS-BC
  2. Reiland, Debra MS, RN

Article Content


The purpose of this presentation was to discuss the implementation and evaluation of a new Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) track that addresses the needs of rural communities in preparing CNSs for practice in nonacute settings within the state of Idaho.



Idaho State University (ISU) is located in Pocatello, Idaho, and serves as the statewide provider of healthcare education including advanced practice nurse education. In the fall of 2005, ISU School of Nursing implemented the Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist track, based on state, community, and professional needs.



Challenges for this program were to develop a curriculum that could (a) prepare CNS students for nontraditional roles in rural settings, (b) find appropriate clinical experiences with limited convenient access to certified CNSs, and (c) introduce the CNS practice role in communities that were not familiar with CNS preparation and abilities.



Strengths and resources in developing the CNS curriculum included (a) well-established and accredited, all online, family nurse practitioner, education, and rural leadership graduate programs within the School of Nursing; (b) a progressive Idaho State Advanced Nurse Practice Act that allows a broad CNS practice; and (c) strong support from the 2 Boise hospitals, Intermountain Health Care in Utah, enthusiastic Idaho-based individual certified CNSs, and motivated students and faculty.



In the spring of 2007, the first 3 CNS students graduated from ISU. This initial group of students used local and regional healthcare experts, many of whom practiced in community/rural settings. Clinical nurse specialist clinical experiences required travel to Boise and Utah.



All 3 students will be practicing in nonacute care settings, 2 in rural communities, and 1 within a geriatric population outpatient practice. All graduates plan to be actively involved in their local communities as well as state and national professional activities.


Implications for Practice:

It is important to recognize the importance and value of the CNS in nontraditional settings and to facilitate learning experiences that encourage the exploration of these different roles.


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.