1. Dunn, Kathleen L. MS, RN, CRRN-A, CNS

Article Content


The purposes of this study were to (1) describe the role of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS)/advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in providing moderation for a consumer health-related Internet discussion forum and (2) describe 2 ethical/legal issues related to this virtual CNS role.



The Internet may serve as a mechanism for the CNS to provide counseling and education to a much wider population of clients than is available in traditional service settings. In addition, the Internet may provide more access to a variety of healthcare systems and may provide a method for influencing healthcare policy in both the national and international domains.



The author has provided moderation services, both directly and through coordination of a panel of APRNs, for a disability-specific Internet forum for the past 11 years. The (Rutgers University Keck Center) Web site has more than 15,000 international members and is focused on the health and information needs of persons with spinal cord injury, their caregivers, and families. Advanced practice registered nurses use evidence and clinical expertise to answer questions guide members in self-advocacy and wellness behaviors.



Online moderation and nurse advice services provided through a reputable health-related consumer discussion forum.



The author will provide examples of the types of nurse advice sought and provided and will discuss implications for a wider scope of health problems and issues, as well as discuss legal and ethical implications of the virtual CNS role.



Advanced practice registered nurses from a variety of specialties have opportunities to provide Internet-based services to those in underserved areas as well as to those who may not have access to APRNs, with the ultimate goal of client empowerment and improvement in health.


Implications for Practice:

The Internet may serve as a tool for expansion of the CNS role beyond immediate geopolitical boundaries, with the goal of improvement of consumer health at the national and international level.


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.