1. Callaghan, Donna PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, CNE

Article Content


This abstract describes the challenges involved in the evolution of the master's-level CNS programs at Widener University into the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree.



Widener University offers clinical nurse specialties at the master's degree level in adult health, emergency/critical care, psychiatric/mental health, and community health as well as 1 NP program (family).



The director of the nurse practitioner program was the driving force behind the initiation of the development of the DNP program. The coordinators of the CNS programs felt that because of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's recommendation that the DNP be the required credential for entry into advanced practice by the year 2015, they must also be involved in the development of this degree.



Through 2 years of collaborative work among the director and coordinators, outcomes for the DNP program were developed.



The DNP outcomes include the following: apply nursing science and theory with knowledge from ethics, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences to develop, evaluate, and improve advanced nursing practice; apply organizational, political, and economic sciences as well as ethical principles for ongoing improvement of health outcomes within healthcare systems; promote evidence-based practice by collaboratively conducting, translating, and disseminating research to guide improvements in nursing practice and outcomes of care; evaluate and use information systems and technology, considering ethical and legal implications, to support, improve, and transform healthcare; assume leadership roles in the analysis and development of healthcare policies through advocacy, teaching, and active participation in policy making; promote collegial and collaborative relationships with interprofessional teams to improve patient and population outcomes; assume leadership roles in evidence-based health promotion and risk reduction/illness prevention practices in response to political, socioeconomic, cultural, and ethical issues in individual, aggregate, and population health; and demonstrate skills in advanced practice roles through the synthesis of biophysical, psychosocial, behavioral, sociopolitical, cultural, economic, and nursing science knowledge as appropriate for area of specialization.



Challenges were and are still being faced during the development of this advanced practice doctorate degree.


Implications for CNS basic and Continuing Education

Incorporating the NACNS's DNP-CNS competencies into the program's outcomes is a challenge that still needs to be addressed.


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.