Press Room

Oklahoma Nurse and Professor Honored with National Nursing Leadership Award

Austin, Texas – The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) today presented its prestigious Brenda Lyon Leadership Award to Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCN, Assistant Professor, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Administration and Graduate Education and PhD Program Director, at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. This Award recognizes extraordinary leadership in service to NACNS. It is named for Brenda Lyon, a founding member and the second president of NACNS. Dr. Craft received the award earlier today at NACNS’ 2018 Annual Conference, Putting the Pieces Together: CNSs Bridging the Gaps in Health Care, in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Craft has been a member of NACNS since 2003. She is the Chair of the CNS Institute, an arm of NACNS created in 2016 to develop and promote the charitable, educational, innovative clinical practice, and scientific purposes of NACNS. As such she has spearheaded the Institute’s fundraising initiatives to promote the visibility of the CNS role.

“Dr. Craft’s leadership has shaped the work of the CNS Institute in these critical early years of its formation,” said NACNS 2017 Board President Vince Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC.  “The association and all clinical nurse specialists have greatly benefited from her leadership and passion to ensuring the clinical nurse specialist role is visible, respected and valued in nursing and health care. She serves as a wonderful example for the next generation of CNS leaders.”

“I am truly humbled and honored by this award,” said Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCN. “I have been a clinical nurse specialist for 30 years and being able to contribute to the ongoing vitality of this incredibly valuable advanced practice nursing role is a high-point of my career. I am so proud of the work of the CNS Institute and all my fellow awardees.”

Dr. Craft also served on the NACNS DNP Task Force from 2013 to 2015, the Educator’s Forum Planning Committee in 2017, and she is a current member of the NACNS Education Committee.

Dr. Craft earned her PhD in 2006 from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, and her BSN and MS from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to NACNS, Dr. Craft is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Beta Delta At-Large Chapter; the American Nurses’ Association, Oklahoma Nurses’ Association; Oncology Nurses of Central Oklahoma; Oncology Nursing Society; and Oklahoma Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

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Founded in 1995, The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists is the only association representing the clinical nurse specialist (CNS). CNSs are advanced practice registered nurses who work in a variety of specialties to ensure high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care. As leaders in health care settings, CNSs provide direct patient care and lead initiatives to improve care and clinical outcomes, and reduce costs. NACNS is dedicated to advancing CNS practice and education, removing certification and regulatory barriers, and assuring the public access to quality CNS services.

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