Year: 2021


RISE Up By Giving A Hand Up

Succession Planning To Advance The CNS Profession

Jan Powers, in her recent National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists President’s Letter titled “We Rise By Lifting Others,” stated:

“As CNSs, we must look to the future and work to improve the pipeline of qualified CNSs to fill positions of vital need. We must have an intentional focus on succession planning and simultaneously encourage younger nurses to explore and step up to the role of CNS.”

Five generations of nurses are now working together with the oldest generation reaching retirement. As a matter of fact, nearly 20% of CNSs will reach retirement age over the next five years. Succession planning is an important way to fill this potential retirement gap in the ranks of the about 89,000 CNSs in North America.

Succession planning is defined as the systematic process of recognizing and creating future leaders who ready and able to accept the roles and responsibilities of those leaving the workforce via retirement, resignation, or promotion. Succession planning is a future-oriented process.

In short, it’s about giving younger nurses a “hand up” by introducing them to the role of the CNS and encouraging them to pursue the career. It is primarily through this effort that we advance the CNS role and ensure it thrives well into the future.

The Big Question

Ask yourself this question:

Who will replace you when you retire or leave the organization?

To truly RISE UP as a profession we must lead others forward. This is where succession planning is so critical because our current CNS positions must pave the way for the next CNS to take our place. Below are some tips and ideas to think about as you begin a succession plan.

CNS Succession Planning Tips

1. Establish accountability

  • Agree who has the responsibility to make the succession decision. Establishing clear responsibility of organizational succession early on is key to avoiding confusion later and is important to ensure a CNS has input into the process.

2. Focus on learning, not just performance

  • Provide potential successors opportunities to experience the future role and be educated on responsibilities before the succession itself is decided and implemented. This is where mentoring is important.

3. Turn succession short-term by breaking down tasks

  • Succession planning is a journey with many steps. People tend to think better in the short-term so breaking down the succession process into smaller projects rather than trying to make a switch all at once has a better chance of success.

4. Build transparency with the scientific method

  • Be upfront about succession planning and use CNS data skills to measure a potential successor’s performance and leadership ability. Establish standards to measure the success of a transition and share this information. This not only makes the succession process cleaner, but it builds trust among coworkers and the organization generally.

Is 90,000 Enough?

There are about 89,000 CNSs in North America and it is not nearly enough. The pandemic is swallowing resources while the online job boards scream for more CNSs. Our goal should be to retain and add more CNS to the workforce every year. We can do this with mentoring, succession planning, advising younger nurses, speaking at nursing programs among may other things. In sum, by giving a hand up to younger nurses to become CNSs we ensure the continuity of our profession and truly “RISE By Lifting Others.”


Lt Colonel David Bradley Armed Forces Affiliate Interview with NACNS

Lt. Colonel David Bradley Interview – Q&A

Q. What prompted the reinvigoration of the military affiliate within NACNS?

A few colleagues and I have been attending the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialist (NACNS) Annual Conference for years and always found it exciting and informative. We decided there was a real
need for a military affiliate, and — in true military fashion — we just went ahead and completed all the paperwork and executed the mission. We plan to launch NACNS’s military affiliate in October with representation across three branches of the military — Navy, Air Force and Army. We’ve had a lot of interest already.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish with the creation of the Armed Services affiliate?

People are just unaware of the Clinical Nurse Specialist’s (CNS) role. They ask: “What are your skill sets and how can we better utilize you?” There is a great need for education and awareness around the CNS in the military. We want to make sure that the role of the CNS is understood and valued. The best ambassadors for this effort are the CNSs themselves, so we want to put our heads together and have an organization to build awareness and appreciation of our role.

Being an affiliate linked to a national organization can support and help with visibility and grow awareness. Our second goal is to share and collaborate on evidence-based practice and research. NACNS gives us the best forum for accomplishing these goals.

Q. Can you tell us more about the benefits of a NACNS military affiliate?

The primary benefit of the NACNS military affiliate is that it establishes a platform to better market the role of the CNS. An active affiliate will highlight the great things CNSs are doing across the nation as well as showing how CNSs are making an impact in military healthcare. We also plan to use the military affiliate to network and establish a robust mentoring program for newer CNSs. That’s an area of opportunity for the military affiliate, providing experienced mentors for recently graduated CNSs.

Q. Do you have anything else you would like to share about the role of the CNS?

I’m always looking for better ways to describe the role of a CNS. When the message gets through, people really do understand the unique value we bring to the table. I’ve found that analogies go a long way in this regard; they’re a simple way to explain what otherwise can sound like a complicated role. Here’s one of the best analogies about CNSs that I’ve heard:

A CNS is like a pitching coach in baseball. Now, can you play baseball without a pitching coach? Absolutely. So, why do they have pitching coaches and pay them so much money?

Teams invest in pitching coaches because pitching is the most important position on the field. For a team to be great, it has to have great pitching. So, even small improvements to a pitcher’s mechanics, to his pitch selection, or to something as simple as how he grips the ball can have significant impact on the team. The pitching coach can look at the spin of the ball, the velocity, or the way the ball leaves a pitcher’s hand and be able to offer insight that no one else on the field can see. The pitching coach will see things others miss. “You’re dropping your shoulder,” he’ll tell the pitcher who can’t find the strike zone. This advice and corrective action can and regularly does change the outcome for a pitcher and for the game.

A CNS plays a similar role to the pitching coach, providing expertise and guidance at key moments, relying on their deep expertise, to improve the quality of care and outcomes in hospitals and health systems across the country.


Clinical Nurse Specialists RISE and Celebrate Their Role in Week-long Event

CNS Week Starts Tomorrow; “Rise of the CNS” Theme

RESTON, VA – August 31, 2021 – The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) launched the 12th Annual Clinical Nurse Specialist Recognition Week (CNS Week) to celebrate the vital role of CNSs, increase awareness and attract a new generation of nurses to the specialty.

The theme of this year’s CNS Week is “Rise of the CNS.” “Rise of the CNS” represents the growing impact CNSs are making on the healthcare system and in patient outcomes. A schedule of events, beginning tomorrow, September 1 and concluding on September 7, along with a free “Celebration Tool Kit,” can be found  here.

“CNS are one of the four advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and about 89,000 strong in the United States,” said Jan Powers, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, FCCM, president, NACNS. “The goal of CNS Week — empowering CNSs to rise to the occasion—is to build awareness and appreciation of the role they play within healthcare, within their communities, and among the next generation of CNSs who are looking for rewarding careers and making a genuine contribution to better patient outcomes.”

CNS week is an annual event that acknowledges the contributions of the nearly 90,000 CNSs in the United States. CNSs are an elite and unique group that are the only APRNs qualified to integrate care across the three spheres of influence in healthcare:  patient, nurse and system.  NACNS is the only national organization representing CNSs and is dedicated to advancing the practice and education of CNSs. Watch the #CNSPride Video and hear from CNSs across the country on why they are proud to be a CNS.

CNS Week 2021 Highlights

  • Register to attend the free “Rise of the CNS” Webinar with NACNS President Jan Powers to kickoff CNS Week 2021.
  • Get the Celebration Tool Kit with all kinds of cool social media assets like Facebook Frames, Buzzkits and other resources to show your #CNSPride.
  • Wish the founder of the CNS profession – Dr. Hildegard Peplau — Happy Birthday here.
  • Learn more about Dr. Peplau from this blog.
  • Show your excitement and appreciation for CNSs! Order your merchandise from the NACNS store today.

About The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) is the only national association representing the clinical nurse specialist (CNS). CNSs are the most versatile advanced practice registered nurses and work in health care specialties to ensure the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care. As leaders in the acute, post-acute, and ambulatory health care settings, CNSs impact direct patient care, nurses and nursing practice, and organizations and systems to optimize care and drive outstanding clinical outcomes. NACNS is dedicated to advancing CNS practice and education and removing unnecessary and limiting regulatory barriers while assuring public access to quality CNS services. For more information or to join NACNS, click here.


You’re invited: Join a listening session with HHS and HRSA leadership

Friday, August 20, 2021
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Register Today

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) are gathering feedback and we want to hear from you. How can we better support practicing nurses? How might we grow and strengthen the nursing workforce within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic? What are the lasting impacts of the pandemic on nurse staffing shortages?

As a valued stakeholder, you are invited to give HRSA senior leadership direct feedback on how we can better support the nursing workforce.

Please also feel free to share this invitation within your organization, particularly with individuals with front-line experience as practicing nurses during the pandemic.

Before the session, we are asking for your responses to the following questions: 

  • What are the opportunities for the nursing community to help address the challenges facing health care organizations responding to COVID-19?
  • What mechanisms are in place to support nurses in your organization to promote resiliency, retain nurses during surges, and avoid burnout? What more do you need?
  • What could be done to support new nurses entering the workforce during the pandemic?

Your responses will facilitate robust dialogue during the listening session discussion. You can provide your responses in the registration form or email us your  comments/responses.

Register by Monday, August 16

Unable to attend? You can send responses or interest in future listening session opportunities to Winnie Chen.


A Few Minutes With the 2021 CNS of the Year — Brittany Rhoades

Brittany RhoadesThis year’s CNS of the Year hails from the Lone Star State and is a clinical nurse specialist providing direct care to heart transplant and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) patients at Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, TX. We caught up with Brittany Rhoades, Ph.D., APRN, CCNS, and she shared her thoughts on being a CNS, the CNS role, and the tip that Houston weather is excellent for gardening.

What role do you play at St. Luke’s Medical Center?

I started as a CNS for the transplant and LVAD program in an educational role for nursing and multidisciplinary staff. After a couple years, I transitioned to direct patient care practice. As a CNS, I can go from education roles to direct practice to quality or regulatory roles. The CNS role is very fluid, flexible, and necessary.

How did you become a CNS?

I started my nursing career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Many of the leaders in various areas of cardiology were CNSs. UAB also had a clinical nurse specialist program. That’s how I was introduced to the CNS role. It has provided me a way to become an advanced practice nurse while creating change at an organizational level.

What’s the biggest challenge facing CNSs?

Visibility and a clear understanding of the role is probably the biggest challenge. I’ve encountered individuals familiar with the CNS role who love CNSs and really know how to utilize them. But we need to educate more of our colleagues about the unique role of the CNS and how healthcare can benefit from CNSs’ expertise.

What’s the unique skill set that a CNS brings to an organization?

As an example, I’m an APRN and a Ph.D. researcher. I’m very passionate about qualitative research and learning how patients perceive things. I like to connect the two of those together. Clinicians have a particular perspective of illness and healthcare, and patients have their own unique perspectives. As a CNS, I want to bridge those perspectives to improve the healthcare experience for both patients and clinicians.

Why did you join NACNS?

I wanted to become a CNS because I wanted a broader scope than direct patient care and loved the CNS role. I quickly got involved with the Texas NACNS group as soon as I moved here. They are very encouraging, supportive and stress the importance of national membership.

It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people in the profession.

What do you do for fun?

I am a wife and mother to two beautiful girls. We enjoy gardening — Houston has terrific weather most of the year for being outside and gardening. We also appreciate the arts, museums, and theatre. We are always looking for a new place to explore.


Texas Nurse Named Clinical Nurse Specialist Of The Year

Brittany Rhoades Honored By National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

RESTON, VA – April 13, 2021 –The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) announced today that Brittany Rhoades, Ph.D., APRN, CCNS at CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Houston, TX was named the 2021 Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year. Rhoades was recognized for her professional achievements and contributions to advancing the clinical nurse specialists (CNS) profession in the United States.

NACNS is the national organization for the 89,000 CNSs in the United States and is dedicated to advancing the practice and education of CNSs. Rhoades was nominated and selected to receive CNS of the Year honors by her advanced practice registered nursing peers.

More NACNS Award Program information can be found:

Rhoades has over 15 years of nursing experience and is currently a clinical nurse specialist providing direct care to heart transplant and left ventricular assist device patients in the Cardiothoracic Transplant Program at Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center. She started her career as a registered nurse at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before enrolling in the clinical nurse specialist program to become an advanced practice registered nurse.

Rhoades is actively involved in the profession having served on the board of the International Transplant Nurses Society and currently serving on the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians. She has also served the community by providing hands-on left ventricular assist device education to the Houston Fire Department captains and supervisors.

Rhoades has a Ph.D. in Nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a Master of Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. She has Bachelor of Science degrees from Union University (Nursing) and Ouachita Baptist University (Biology).

About The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) is the only association representing the clinical nurse specialist (CNS). CNSs are advanced practice registered nurses who work in various 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 as well as 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. For more information or to join NACNS, click here


National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists 2021 Award Winners Announced

National Awards Recognize Clinical Nurse Specialists for Outstanding Professional Achievement and Contributions to the Profession

RESTON, VA – May 10, 2021 – The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) unveiled its 2021 award winners at its Annual Conference recently.  The nine award winners were honored for their professional achievement and contributions to advancing the clinical nurse specialists (CNS) profession in the United States.  NACNS is the national organization for the 89,000 CNSs in the United States and is dedicated to advancing the practice and education of CNSs.  Award winners were nominated and selected to receive the honors by their advanced practice registered nursing peers.  More NACNS Award Program information can be found: https://nacns.org/about-us/awards/

“The professional success of these seven honorees embodies the spirit of the 2021 NACNS theme – ‘RISE’. ‘RISE’ signifies the ongoing growth and advancement of the CNS profession and its influence,” said Jan Powers, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, FCCM, president, NACNS. “They were recognized for significant achievements and contributions in research, improving practice and educational opportunities as well as for raising the profile of the CNS in the profession.”

2021 NACNS National Award Winners

  • Affiliate of the Year: Central Indiana Organization of Clinical Nurse Specialists, IN
  • CNS of the Year: Brittany Rhoades, PhD, APRN, CCNS, CCTN, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Houston, TX
  • CNS Evidence-Based Practice/Quality Improvement: Geline Buenconsejo, RN MSN CNS PCCN, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, San Diego, CA
  • Mentor of the Year: Kimberly Pate, DNP, RN, ACCNS-AG, PCCN-K, Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC
  • Preceptor of the Year: Amy Patterson, MSN, APRN, AOCNS, BMTCN, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
  • Researcher of the Year: Susan Storey, PhD, RN, AOCNS, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Pamela Jane Nye Scholarship: F. Kay Butler, MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, CCRN, ACM-RM, RN the Know, LLC, Newport News, VA
  • Susan B. Davidson Service Award: Anne Hysong, MSN, APRN, CCNS, FCNS, Northside Hospital Duluth, Duluth, GA
  • Brenda Lyon Leadership Award: Vincent W. Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, Indiana University Health Bloomington, Bloomington, IN 

About The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) is the only national association representing the clinical nurse specialist (CNS). CNSs are the most versatile advanced practice registered nurses and work in a variety of health care specialties to ensure delivery of high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care. As leaders in the acute, post-acute, and ambulatory health care settings, CNSs impact direct patient care, nurses and nursing practice, and organizations and systems to optimize care and drive outstanding clinical outcomes. NACNS is dedicated to advancing CNS practice and education and removing unnecessary and limiting regulatory barriers, while assuring public access to quality CNS services. For more information or to join NACNS click here.


National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Releases Census Results

Data Shows Robust Growth With Pivot Toward New Practice Areas

RESTON, VA – May 6, 2021 – There is a trend showing a pivoting of clinical nurse specialists toward a further expansion of practice areas according to the results of The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2020 Census of the CNS profession released today.

An infographic based on the census data called “The Role of the CNS: Findings from the 2020 Census” shows a resurgence of the profession with CNSs working in a wide variety of practices including adult health/gerontology acute care or ambulatory care settings as well as growing practices in family, mental and women’s health. The NACNS 2020 census was sponsored by AACN Certification Corporation and Cardinal Health.

NACNS is the national organization for the 89,000 Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States (CNS) and dedicated to advancing the practice and education of CNSs. An infographic of 2020 census results is available here.

“The data demonstrates that CNSs’ roles and responsibilities are broadening and becoming more robust,” said Lola Coke, PhD, ACNS-BC, FAHA, FPCNA, FNAP, FAAN, Census 2020 project lead and associate professor and clinical nurse specialist, acting dean, Kirkhof College of Nursing, Grand Valley State University.  “The trend is a pivoting to an expanding CNS practice beyond adult health/gerontology and pediatrics to areas such as family health, psychiatric /mental health, women’s health /gender specific and neonatal. CNSs’ responsibilities continue to range from providing direct care, managing care, leading research to nurse/patient/family education in the hospital or health system setting.”

NACNS surveys CNSs every other year collecting demographic and professional data.  Almost 3,000 CNSs responded to the 2020 survey.  CNSs are advanced practice registered nurses who have graduate preparation (Master’s or Doctorate) in nursing. Like other advanced practice registered nurses, they are trained in physiology, pharmacology and physical assessment in addition to their particular specialty areas.

What’s The Typical CNS?

According to the 2020 census, one of the 89,000 CNSs that work in the United States typically could, on average, have the following attributes:

  • Works in adult health/gerontology or pediatrics
  • Involved in direct patient care, education and/or research
  • Works fulltime in hospitals and/or health system-wide
  • $100,000 year salary
  • Master’s of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree
  • Over 80% white and female

About The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 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 as well as 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. For more information or to join NACNS click here


Virtual ceremony recognizes AFMC’s ‘best of the best’

The Air Force Materiel Command announced its 2020 Annual Excellence Awards recipients during a virtual ceremony, March 26, 2021.

“I like to think of this annual ceremony as our Academy Awards, because you are all superstars,” said Patricia Young, AFMC Executive Director, addressing the virtual attendees. “You have been selected from a portfolio of over 87,000 Airmen. You are all winners!”

Due to the pandemic, this year’s awards ceremonies were split into separate events held on the Microsoft Commercial Virtual Remove live application. Families, coworkers and friends were invited to log in to view the unique ceremony.

“A special shout out to the families of these outstanding nominees. Thank you for your service. Our Airmen can only be successful because of your support,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., AFMC Commander, who hosted the event.

Nine Airmen were chosen from 59 nominees representing the total AFMC workforce at centers, wings and the command headquarters. Nominees were selected in nine categories: Airman, Non-commissioned Officer, Senior Non-commissioned officer, First sergeant, Company Grade Officer, Field Grade Officer, Civilian Category I, Civilian Category II and Civilian Category III.

The event was appropriately themed, “Growing through Challenges, Breaking through Barriers, Powering the Warfighter … Together.”

“Our ceremony looks a lot different than usual, but something that doesn’t change is the number of outstanding performers we have.” said Chief Master Sgt. Stanley C. Cadell, AFMC command chief. “Congratulations to all.”

The 2020 winners are:

AIRMAN OF THE YEAR: Senior Airman Valerie M. Graw is a Cyber Operations Controller assigned to the 88th Communications Squadron Cyber Operations Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Her team ensures 24/7 classified and unclassified network capabilities to five major commands with 30,000 personnel. In 2020, Graw completed a deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar and an associate degree in information systems technology. She was also a distinguished graduate of the Airman Leadership School.

NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Tech. Sgt. Mathew M. Footit is the Flight Chief for Environmental Management. He leads a team responsible for Occupational Health, Emergency Response and Environmental Management, achieving compliance with minimal mission impact for a selectively-manned test organization servicing two installations, eight geographically separate units and 70 remote sites. Footit was also the 2019 United States Lacrosse Coach of the Year, a 2020 distinguished graduate of the NCO Academy and the 2020 USAF Bioenvironmental Engineering NCO of the Year.

SENIOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Senior Master Sgt. David N. Briden is the headquarters operations manager for the Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He oversees contingency operations, battle staff duties and functional area manager actions and provides guidance for eight major commands. He has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Libyan operation and also provided contracting support for U.S. Northern Command during hurricane relief efforts.

First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Mary K. Cramer is the First Sergeant for the 72nd Force Support Squadron, 72nd Comptroller Squadron, 72nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, 72nd Operations Support Squadron and the 72nd Air Base Wing Staff Agencies at Tinker Air Force Base, Florida. She oversees the health, morale and welfare of more than 1,200 Airmen. Cramer has deployed three times to bases throughout Southwest Asia. She was the 2017 Commandant Award Winner and distinguished graduate at the First Sergeant Academy, the 2018 First Sergeant of the Year for the 552nd Air Control Wing and the 2019 First Sergeant of the Year for the 72nd Air Base Wing.

COMPANY GRADE OFFICER of the Year: Capt. Joseph S. Haggberg is the Flight Commander of the Sensors and Defensive Systems Test Flight, 46th Test Squadron, 96th Cyberspace Test Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He leads a team of 50 military, civilian, and contractor personnel who perform developmental testing for a variety of aircraft and cross-service survivability and sensor technology. Haggberg holds a master’s degree in science and engineering management. He recently completed a master’s of science in flight test engineering where he flew 25 different aircraft and studied flying qualities, mission systems, and performance.

FIELD GRADE OFFICER of the Year:  Lt. Col. Brett J. Cooper serves as the Materiel Leader, Reentry Systems in the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Systems Directorate, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He is responsible for development, deployment, and sustainment of the reentry system for the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile system. An engineer, Cooper has served in numerous acquisition positions in space, intelligence, and nuclear programs. While at Air Staff, he managed the Air Force’s major prototyping programs, including the adaptive turbine engine, hypersonic strike, and directed energy weapons.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY I of the Year: Aaliyah M. Patten is a Financial Analyst Specialist for the Centralized Asset Management Weapon System Sustainment division at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Patten is responsible for managing the operations and maintenance sustainment execution budget of $504.4 million. Patten earned a bachelor of science in business finance and will complete her masters of business administration in May. She won the AFMC Headquarters Civilian Category I of the year in 2020.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY III of the Year: Kathy M. Williams is an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and Master Clinician at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. As a medical-surgical expert on the Multi-Service Inpatient Flight she oversees the nurse residency program, is a key consultant for three Department of Defense working groups and chairs two medical group committees. An Air Force retiree, she sets benchmarks in clinical practice, ensuring national standards of practice are met or exceeded. She received numerous awards in 2020 at Eglin AFB including the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year, American Nurse Credentialing Center Certified Medical-Surgical Nurse of the Year, 96th Medical Group Nursing Service Award for Excellence and the 96th Inpatient Squadron Civilian of the Year.

Civilian Category III of the Year: Daniel M. Sanders is the Operations Group Logistics Management Lead for a unique national test facility supporting separate geographic locations, organizations, and both U.S. and foreign national customers. He provides overall logistics planning, programming, and systems support requirements for projects and larger DOD programs, modifying and adapting support requirements to fit situations and fulfil mission objectives. Sanders enlisted in the Air Force in 1985, starting his career as a Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Specialist. Upon his retirement from active duty, Sanders began his career as a Department of the Air Force civilian at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Congratulations to these outstanding Airmen. Winners in the Airman, Non-commissioned Officer, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and First Sergeant categories will represent AFMC in the United States Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year and First Sergeant of the Year competitions held later this year.


There’s far more to the ‘white uniform and cap’

When someone wins an award, it’s usually to recognize a personal achievement. However, for Geline Buenconsejo, MSN, the award she received was in recognition for her outstanding and enduring professional achievements in developing treatments, systems and protocols that benefit many people.

Geline is a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in acute care services at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. She recently was awarded the CNS Evidence-Based Practice/Quality Improvement (EBP/QI) of the Year Award from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. The award recognizes outstanding professional achievement by a CNS who has significantly impacted nursing practice, patient and family outcomes, as well as health care systems, including reducing cost.

“Geline’s commitment to the profession is laudable,” says Gabriella Malagon-Maldonado, PhD, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Sharp Chula Vista. “Because of her clinical expertise and commitment to advancing nursing, she conducted multiple evidence-based practice and process improvement projects.”

From programs to reduce pressure injuries and decrease patient falls, to improving discharge times and decreasing bloodstream infections, Geline’s efforts to improve the care she and colleagues provide and to improve systems within Sharp are exemplary, especially during a pandemic.

“Recently, Geline was instrumental in training volunteer nurse extenders to assist primary care registered nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic surge,” says Malagon-Maldonado. “She was also responsible for creating COVID-19 patient care guidelines focused on both patient and staff safety.”

Geline was born and raised in the Philippines, where she completed her Bachelor of Science in nursing. She is the mother of three children, ages 3, 6 and 9; and she is currently continuing her notable academic endeavors at the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, where she is pursuing a doctorate of philosophy in nursing research.

“My aunt inspired me to become a nurse,” Geline says. “I used to see her in her white uniform and cap, and I told myself that someday, I will be like her. It wasn’t really until I became a nurse that I realized that there is more to the white uniform and cap – it was my calling and my passion to help the sick that brought me into this profession.”

Most days, Geline spends her time working with staff and other multidisciplinary team members. She starts each morning rounding on three units of the hospital to check in with unit managers and charge nurses. She also represents Sharp Chula Vista on several Sharp HealthCare system committees.

“My favorite part of my job is the opportunity to create structures and processes that can make our patients and staff safe, while also delivering positive organizational outcomes,” she says.

At home, Geline’s focus is on her family as well as self-care. From playing board games and baking with her children to carving out time each day to “escape” on her indoor exercise bike, she has found ways to thrive throughout the pandemic while always working to ensure her colleagues are doing equally well.

“We are a year into this pandemic now, and the staff are emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted,” she says. “I need to take this into consideration when I am creating and implementing changes. I need to be someone they can turn to.”

By receiving this award, it is evident Geline is just that. Noting that such recognition is motivating and humbling, she, of course, is quick to share the achievement with her colleagues.

“Receiving this prestigious award is both a personal and professional milestone,” she says. “This award is not only for me, but also for my whole Sharp Chula Vista team who have worked so hard to achieve our cumulative goals.”