1. Fulton, Janet S. PhD, RN, ACNS-BC

Article Content


Learn Where You Live, a distance-accessible clinical nurse specialist (CNS) program, expanded an accredited adult CNS program by taking advantage of an existing university regional campus network system to deliver graduate education throughout a largely rural state.



Rural communities have limited access to CNS services due to limited advanced nursing education options.



Nurses, the majority of whom are women, face challenges in returning to graduate school. Approximately 43% of nurses are 45 years old or older; 70% are married; 52% have minor children in the home; 76% of nurse students are part-time while also working full-time to maintain benefits. Distance education can help overcome challenges and increase the public's access to CNS services.



Conventional classroom courses were converted to distance formats using a mix of asynchronous (Web-based) and synchronous (videoconferencing) strategies. Web-based programs introduce students to the university's online learning environment and library services. Clinical experiences are arranged in students' communities; clinical preceptors are recruited and developed using a Web-based preceptor orientation program. Clinical competencies are mapped by course to ensure students develop entry-level competency. A Virtual Student Lounge provides support for distance students. Annually, students commute to the main campus for a face-to-face meeting and luncheon.



The Learn Where You Live program is enrolling and graduating students from rural areas: 66% of students are from underserved areas; 90% of graduates are employed in the state; 74% are employed in underserved areas of the state. Student and faculty evaluations demonstrate that the program is successfully achieving the CNS program outcomes. CNS graduates are finding employment in rural communities.



Learn Where You Live makes graduate education accessible by removing barriers such as the time constraints of fixed traditional classroom courses and the time and expense associated with commuting long distances to a central campus. Distance education is an effective option for increasing the number of CNSs practicing in rural communities.


Implications for CNS basic and Continuing Education:

Large urban universities can extend graduate nursing education to rural communities using distance education options in combination with a regional campus network.


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.