Press Room

National Nursing Organization Honors Nurses from Across the Country for Leadership, Service and Mentoring

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) honored clinical nurse specialists from Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Ohio for their extraordinary work advancing and showcasing the critical role clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) play in health care. The awards were presented during NACNS’s 2017 annual conference, Tomorrow Belongs to Us: The Clinical Nurse Specialist Conquering Change in the Health Care Environment, in Atlanta, Ga. 

The award winners are:

  • 2016 CNS of the Year Amanda Nenaber, DNP, APRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC, Program Director, Transitions of Care, from the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., for outstanding professional achievement in all aspects of CNS practice.

“It is our great honor to present the CNS of the Year Award to Amanda Nenaber,” said NACNS 2016 President Sharon Horner, PhD, RN, MC-CNS, FAAN. “Her commitment to improving patient care, creating new models of care delivery, innovative thinking and passion for advocating the CNS role are without parallel. Nenaber is a shining example of the best ways advanced practice registered nurses can have a such a positive effect on patients and families by seeing not just bedside care, but work across the system to be change makers in health care.”

  • 2016 Preceptor of the Year Elizabeth Scruth, PhD, MPH, RN, CCNS CCRN, FCCM, a Clinical Practical Consultant-Quality Clinical Effectiveness with Kaiser Permanente Regional Division and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, for outstanding professional achievement as a CNS preceptor who demonstrated a commitment to teach, coach and mentor CNS students to achieve CNS competencies.

“Preceptors like Dr. Scruth are a critical piece in helping CNS students become future health care leaders,” said Horner. “Dr. Scruth not only mentors and supports her students in clinical settings but instills a commitment to excellence in future generations of clinical nurse specialists. We are so pleased to honor her with this year’s CNS Preceptor of the Year Award.” 

  • Susan B. Davidson Service Award Winner JoAnne Phillips, DNP, RN, CPPS, a manager for quality and patient safety at Penn Home Care and Hospice Services in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., for extraordinary service to NACNS. 

“JoAnne has been a strong supporter of patient safety and quality and has shared her passion for excellence in these fields with her NACNS colleagues,” said Horner.  “She is passionate about making positive changes that result in better health outcomes for her patients. NACNS has greatly benefited from her contributions and we look forward to her continued volunteerism for many years to come.”

  • Brenda Lyon Leadership Award Winner Cynthia Bautista, PhD, RN, CNRN, SCRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC, FNCS, an Associate Professor at Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. and Neuroscience Clinical Nurse Specialist at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn., for extraordinary leadership in service to NACNS.

“Since NACNS’ beginning more than 20 years ago, Dr. Bautista has shown a deep commitment both to promoting nursing research and to the importance of the clinical nurse specialist role,” said Horner. “The association and all our members have benefitted greatly from her leadership and commitment to developing the clinical nurse specialist role. Dr. Bautista exemplifies the type of leader we all strive to be.  Her honesty, forward-looking frame of mind, clinical competence and intelligence inspire her colleagues and she serves as an example for the next generation of CNS leaders.”

  • 2016 NACNS Affiliate of the Year Northeast Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialists (NEOCNS) for sustained membership growth, innovative and creative educational opportunities, building CNS leadership, contributing to the association’s growth and advancing the CNS role.

“The Northeast Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialists is a vibrant organization,” said NACNS 2017 President Vince Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS. “This affiliate has been a steadfast and strong supporter of NACNS’ goals and mission. They continue to increase awareness of the CNS role in health care.”

Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice registered nurses and have education and training in advanced nursing care, physiology, pharmacology and physical assessment. CNSs’ work varies; they can provide diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of patients, advance nursing practice, and improve clinical processes to achieve greater safety and quality.

There are roughly 72,000 CNSs in the United States. The biennial CNS Census conducted by NACNS in 2014 revealed that they tend to be concentrated in adult care or gerontology, and two-thirds (66 percent) work in hospital settings. Of those, more than two in five (44 percent) have responsibility across the entire hospital system. As a group, CNSs spend most of their time providing direct patient care, consulting with nurses, staff and others, teaching nurses and staff, and leading evidence-based practice projects (14 percent).

Colleagues, students or members of the NACNS board of directors nominated candidates for the awards.

Note: Photos of award winners are available; please contact Luci Manning ( or 202-371-1999) with requests.

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