1. Dea, Tara MSN, CRNP, PNP-BC
  2. Crawford, Jacqueline BSN, RN, CPN, CNN
  3. Cielo, Caitlin BSN, RN
  4. Cochran, Lauren BSN, RN

Article Content


The aim of this study was for the dvelopment of a subspecialty education series to encompass the learning needs of the novice to expert pediatric staff nurse.



Subspecialty competency in pediatric nursing is a challenge because of the lack of formal subspecialty education for pediatric nurses and the high rate of staff nurse turnover.



Subspecialty patient cohorts for inpatient units at a children's hospital meet the increasing acuity needs of patients and provide expert bedside nursing care for patients and their families. To meet these needs, staff nurses must have comprehensive knowledge of the subspecialty and treatments involved.



A competency-based education series for the nephrology specialty was developed to meet the needs of the novice to expert pediatric staff nurse. The series consists of three 8-hour courses, annual revalidation sessions, and opportunities for advanced learning and skills acquisition through collaboration with other hospital departments. The series is coordinated and taught by expert-level staff nurses in collaboration with advanced practice nurses.



Staff nurse education courses begin within the first 6 months of employment and continue annually for the first 3 years of employment. Each course builds upon previous knowledge and experience and focuses on increasing critical thinking and clinical accountability within the subspecialty of nephrology. Annually, staff nurses attend revalidation sessions focusing on peritoneal dialysis skills and updates to care. Further development of the series has resulted in an opportunity to cross train with the hemodialysis suite, attendance at a 2-day renal transplantation course, and staff nurses involvement in coordinating and teaching the formal courses.



Education needs of the novice to expert staff nurse can be met through the development of a subspecialty education series. Patient care standards are upheld by all nurses, and seamless care is provided to patients and families. Secondary outcomes of leadership development among staff nurses and an increased personnel pool for the hemodialysis suite have also been noted.


Implications for Practice:

This type of education series can be replicated to meet the learning needs of staff nurses in any specialty or setting. Formalized specialty education leads to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction and can affect staff morale and retention.


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.