1. Rosenow, Doris J. PhD, RN, CCRN, CNS-MS
  2. Clark, Angela P. PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN, FAHA
  3. Foster, Janet PhD, RN, CNS
  4. Wilkinson, Susan PhD, CNS

Article Content


The aim of this study was to describe innovative, technologically based educational methods that have been successfully used in 5 different clinical nurse specialist (CNS) programs to prepare CNS students for practice in an emerging technologically rich healthcare delivery system.



With the advancements in educational technology and Internet access in recent years, there is a need for CNS educators to consider the merits and challenges of advanced technology as a pedagogical tool in both traditional classroom and distance learning settings.



Quality patient care and improved healthcare systems depend on nurses who can use information technologies. Curricular changes are needed to ensure that all students meet requisite competencies.



Strategies that have been successfully implemented in 5 CNS educational programs will be described as exemplars of integrating technology into CNS curricula. Benner's model of novice to expert will provide the theoretical basis for the discussion. Some of the methods include (a) using technology to develop consultation competencies, (b) electronic tools at the point of care, (c) using technology for advanced cardiac life support and trauma expertise, (d) creating "avatar" personas for online/distance educational experiences, and (e) using technology for change projects to develop competencies useful in the student-as-educator role.



Essential CNS core competencies have been well delineated by NACNS. Learning activities and applications of technology across the curriculum will better prepare CNS students to learn the competencies needed for expert practice in their future.



Advances in technology can assist CNS educators to better prepare their students for the organizational complexity that exists in healthcare settings today and in the future.


Implications for Practice:

The role of technology calls for the transformation of nursing education to provide CNSs with essential competencies to improve patient care quality and safety. As CNS educators, better use of today's advances in technology can add innovation and creativity to the planning of learning experiences for students. Collegial sharing of ideas from other education programs may enhance opportunities for improvements in CNS practice in a variety of settings.


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.