CNS Institute

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute

In 2016 the Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute was founded as an arm of NACNS to develop and promote the charitable, educational, innovative clinical practice, and scientific purposes of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

Visit with representatives from the CNS Institute at the NACNS annual conference in Austin, Texas from Feb. 28 till March 3. Look for us, we’re booth 25 in the Exhibit Hall!

For the first time, the CNS Institute will sponsor a fundraising luncheon at this year’s annual conference. For $45, listen to guest speaker Joe Don Cavender, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC, Vice President and Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s Health System of Texas – Children’s Medical Center Dallas on Friday, March 2. He will discuss how clinical nurse specialists provide value to hospital systems and their fellow nurses, influence clinical policies and exert a positive impact on patient outcomes! Pre-register for lunch by February 22. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

2018 Advocacy Grants

The CNS Institute held a targeted fundraising campaign from December 31, 2017 to January 31, 2018 to establish a special fund to be used by NACNS affiliates and other state CNS groups for advocacy. Grant proposals will emphasize educating policymakers about the role of clinical nurse specialists and the importance of enabling CNSs to practice to the full scope of their education and training. Solicitations for applications will open at the 2018 annual conference.

Grant amounts will be based on the amount raised during the fundraising initiative.

If selected, awardees must complete a report at the conclusion of their project or initiative that identifies how the funds were used, including a budget, and descriptive evaluation of the project or initiative.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to explore any state and/or federal tax implications that may be associated with this grant, if received.

All applicants must be current NACNS members.  Please remember, the applicant must identify how NACNS members will be involved in the project or initiative.

Download the application.

2019 Clinical Nurse Specialist Fellowship

Applications for the inaugural CNS Fellowship will open on June 1 and close on October 1, 2018.

Application requirements include:

  • Exhibiting outstanding contributions to the CNS role, show how their work has a direct impact on the visibility of the CNS and demonstrate a willingness to mentor the next generation of CNSs.
  • Providing a letter of endorsement by one colleague, preferably a supervisor, who can verify contributions to CNS practice and leadership.
  • Being a current NACNS member and have maintained membership for the past two years.
  • Having a history of working as a CNS for at least five years.
  • Being credentialed as a CNS or educated as a CNS, plus have significant past contributions as a CNS.

More information will be coming soon.

CNSI Video Competition

Clinical nurse specialists bring an incredible value to patients, organizations and communities. The CNS role is complex and multi-faceted, which makes articulating the benefits of the CNS difficult and the CNS role isn’t as valued and visible as it should be. The CNS Institute is highlighting innovative CNS roles, projects, outcomes and NACNS initiatives (e.g., opioid task force) with a video competition!

The competition will open October 1, and close December 1, 2018. Winners will be announced at the 2019 annual conference at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World, Florida, March 6-9, 2019. Representatives of the winning submission do not need to be present to win.


  • Must showcase either the role(s) of the CNS, value of the CNS, CNS project(s), CNS outcomes, or NACNS initiatives in no more than five minutes.
  • Must in some way promote understanding of the CNS role.
  • Each individual or team must secure signed releases for talent, crew, and locations (if needed), which must be turned with the finished video, and acknowledge any help received in the credits (writing, filming, editing, etc…).
  • There is no limit in the design or style of the video.
  • CNSs do not have to be an NACNS member to submit.
  • To be eligible, videos:
    • must be the original work of the individual or team;
    • must not infringe third-party’s rights;
    • must be suitable for posting;
    • may not contain defamatory statements;
    • may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity;
    • may not contain any copyrighted elements without permission to use (e.g., music).

Judging Criteria:

  • Holds/captivates viewers’ attention.
  • Clearly articulates CNS role, value, outcomes or initiatives.
  • Meets above requirements for videos.

Helpful Hints:

  • Online tips for making a great research video.
  • There is an entrance fee of $30 per submission.
  • Prizes will be awarded in three categories: regular, student and members choice. A first place and runner up award will be given.

More information will be coming soon.

Trustees of the CNS Institute are:

Chair: Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCN
Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Vice Chair: Susan B. Fowler, RN, PhD, CNRN, FAHA
Independent Consultant, B.E. Smith, Lenexa , Kan.

Secretary: Anne Hysong, MSN, APRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC (outgoing)
Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth, Duluth, Ga.

Secretary: Tracy Chamblee, PhD, RN, PCNS-BC, CPPS (incoming)
Senior Director, Quality Patient Safety, Children’s Health System, Dallas, Texas

Treasurer: Nancy Albert, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, FHFSA, FAAN
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio

Trustee: Gayle Timmerman, PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas