1. Dickinson, Sharon P. MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, ANP, CCRN
  2. O'Brien, Denise MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CPAN, CAPA, FAAN

Article Content


The objectives of the presentation were to identify the experiences of an academic medical center in the Midwest when it was confronted with a pandemic health crisis and to describe the clinical nurse specialist role in developing and coordinating a multidisciplinary approach to promote safe, high-quality patient care across the system.



Over 1 million cases of Novel H1N1 influenza have been identified in the United States to date. More than 70 countries have reported outbreaks; death rates continue to rise around the world. Currently, no immunization exists for the H1N1 strain. Patients entering the health system pose a significant risk to healthcare workers, other patients, and families. Outbreaks that occur amplify demands on staff, consume resources and equipment, and tax the healthcare system.



In 2004, most healthcare institutions began creating policies and guidelines to address pandemics with the identification of influenza A (H5N1, avian influenza). These policies and guidelines were reevaluated with the advent of the H1N1 strain. Although avian influenza never reached pandemic status, the H1N1 strain has tested this policy/guideline effectiveness in a pandemic health situation.



This session will describe the why's, how's, and what if's of operationalizing a pandemic policy/guideline in the critical care and perianesthesia setting of an academic medical center. Other institutions may benefit from the lessons learned and issues presented in this session. Challenges include identifying personnel who can safely care for patients with communicable diseases and have necessary skills based on intensity of care required, the availability of equipment, and impact on the overall functioning of the institution.



The clinical nurse specialist, medical and nursing staff, infection control practitioners, and administrators will join together to develop guidelines/policies that work in any pandemic situation the institution may encounter in the future.



The clinical nurse specialist role is critical to operationalizing policies and guidelines that are evidence based, reflect best practice, and promote quality patient outcomes.


Implications for Practice:

This session will present actual experiences identifying the many challenges an institution may face when there is rapid escalation of suspected pandemic health concerns, to determine if you are really ready?


Section Description

The 2010 National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) Annual National Conference is planned for Portland, Oregon, on March 3 to 6. More than 375 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), graduate faculty, nurse administrators, nurse researchers, and graduate students are expected to attend. This year's theme, "CNS as Internal Consultant: Influencing Local to Global Systems," demonstrates the breadth and depth of CNS practice and leadership at multiple levels in organizations and on healthcare.


A total of 142 abstracts were submitted for review, and 58 (not including student posters) were selected for either podium or poster presentations. Again, this year, there is a CNS student poster session; student abstracts will appear in a later issue of the journal. The abstracts addressed CNS practice in all 3 practice domains as described in the Spheres of Influence Framework for CNS Practice. Abstracts emphasized patient safety and quality care outcomes, leadership, CNS education, evidence-based practice, and new ways to shape CNS practice. Topics include CNS work activities incorporated into the 3 Spheres of Influence, the role of the CNS in developing clinical inquiry skills among staff nurses, use of simulation technology, strategies to maintain clinical excellence, the role of the CNS in National Database for Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) activities, and many new and thoughtful ideas to support CNS education, practice, and research. Collectively, the abstracts represent the breadth, depth, and richness of the CNS's contribution to the well-being of individuals, families, and communities, as well as contributing to the advancement of the nursing profession.


The conference abstracts are published to share new knowledge with those 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 for next year's call for abstracts and consider submitting for presentation at the next NACNS annual conference scheduled for March 9-12, 2011, in Baltimore, Maryland.