Year: 2022

Ask Phee Phee Anything: CNSI Advocates/CNS Job Growth

Hello Readers!  This month we have two questions to answer for you.  Check them out below.

Ask Phee Phee Anything: CNSI Advocates

Q. Did NACNS members get a GIVING TUESDAY request from CNSI? Did not see it.

On Giving Tuesday we promoted and encouraged donating to CNSI on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.  Our position is that any day is a “Giving Tuesday” and CNSI is doing wonderful work and worthy of your donation at any time of year. NACNS’s partnership and advocacy with CNSI is important and will continue as we promote the role of the CNS.  To donate click here. Your donation will directly impact the future of our CNS practice and will help contribute to the mission of the CNS Institute; serve to develop and promote the charitable, educational, innovative clinical practice, and scientific goals of NACNS.

Ask Phee Phee Anything:  CNS Job Growth

Q. Are clinical nurse specialist in demand, what is the job outlook?

Is the CNS a growing profession? Heck, Yes!

The NACNS Job Board has 336 open positions listed. Your hospital may have CNS job postings as well.  According to the growth in CNS jobs has surpassed 13% annually since 2012.  Between now and 2029 there will be 332,190 CNS jobs needing to be filled.  Do we need more CNSs?

Yes, indeed!

The top ten hospitals in the country employ many CNSs and, like many other organizations, they understand the value of CNS. However, there’s rich opportunity for those organizations who are not familiar with CNSs for you to advocate for the role and pitch it to the organization.  We have resources on our website on how to do that. Call it “making the case for a CNS” or a “business plan for CNSs”.

I had a discussion with one NACNS member just this week talking about “growing your own” CNS. This organization identifies nurse interested in becoming a CNS. It has a program to support the nurse as she is going to school to get education certification and for the transition period into the new position.  There are other innovative programs out there.  Speak up and ask about these types of innovative programs.  If your organization doesn’t have one, let’s make one! Contact me at

Ask Phee Phee Anything: Things a CNS Should Care About: ICAN Legislation

Hi readers, and welcome to the October edition of Ask Phee Phee. This month, I wanted to talk about a topic that I am passionate about, which directly goes with my presidency’s theme: unstoppable advocacy. As stated on the ANA website, “the Improving Care and Access to Nurses Act (ICAN), H.R. 8812, promotes patient access to health care services delivered by the provider of their choice by removing outdated Medicare and Medicaid barriers on advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).” Because the ICAN Act was recently released, some of you may have a lot of questions. I want to answer those questions and explain why the ICAN Act is so important for CNSs. 

1. Why is the ICAN Act important to all CNSs?

This is a great example of how CNSs can advocate for themselves. This legislation is geared toward advanced practice nurses (APRNs) and takes away a lot of the limitations APRNS have previously faced. This act ensures that APRNS get fair payment and get the proper reimbursement for what they need for their patients. ICAN advances the advanced practice domain for all APRNs, but specifically CNSs. This act goes directly with the APP Hospice CTI Survey that was created in April 2022. This survey is not yet public, but it directly correlates with hospice end-of-life services and CNSs access to the proper care tools. This survey had large participation from CNSs, which further shows how important the ICAN Act is for all CNSs.

2. What are some good ICAN Act resources?

Some of the best resources can be found on the NACNS website as the legislation continues to move forward. To write to your legislator, follow this link on the NACNS website. This legislation is everywhere, you can find more information with a simple google search, or on the ANA website. Check out the NACNS news page for more updates as they come!

3. What can CNSs do today to help pass ICAN?

The most important step is to contact your legislator using the link above. The next most important action to take is to add your voice on social media with the ICAN photo as I did here. Pass along this photo to your fellow nurses and tell them to join the conversation. The most important part of this legislation is to keep the conversation going until it is approved. Never stop advocating!

Read the most recent press release from our affiliate the Rhode Island Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

We are pleased to introduce the Rhode Island Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (RI-CNS). RI-CNS serves to meet the needs of CNSs across the state regardless of specialty or area of practice. The mission of RI-CNS is to promote the full scope of practice for CNSs, and to promotes the value and increases the visibility of the CNS among healthcare organizations, administrators, healthcare professionals and the public.

Download the Press Release

Ask Phee Phee Anything: What a CNS Should Bring to Work

Hello and happy CNS Week, Day 5! What a great week it’s been already, and to close this week’s special Ask Phee Phee blog series, I want to talk about the tools a CNS needs at work, and how to always come prepared for any situation that may arise.

Being a CNS means, one needs to be prepared for anything with their patients, and every day is different. A large part of being a CNS entails simply being present and available for whatever your patients need, physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Below is my list of the tools that a CNS should always bring to work to best serve our patients and communities. 

  1. A sense of humor
    A sense of humor is one of the most important things anyone in a health care role can bring to work. Between the long hours and emotionally/mentally draining work, being able to laugh and have a sense of humor can be extremely valuable in tense situations.
  2. Trust
    This tool goes two ways; you need your colleagues to be able to trust you as well as your patients. Being able to be someone that others trust should be a top priority for all health care workers.
  3. Reliability
    Stemming off being someone that people can trust, being reliable, and speaking up when others aren’t comfortable, is extremely important. Always being visible and transparent in your practice allows you to be a reliable person in the healthcare field.
  4. Teamwork
    Be open and be able to collaborate and communicate with those on a team. You can’t take yourself too seriously, but you need to be able to relate to and validate others’ feelings and situations in order to be the best CNS you can be.
  5. Empathy
    Always carry tissues, for the nurses, families, and patients. This is an emotional role and can carry a lot of stress for yourself and those around you. Be in tune with the situations around you and provide as much support as you can.
  6. Advocacy
    Set boundaries, and advocate for yourself as much as you advocate for others. Say no when you disagree with something or are put in an uncomfortable situation.
  7. Change
    Be a change advocate for nursing and your individual organizations as well as your own advanced practice. When our 3 spheres of impact are broken apart, other nurses can do one of the spheres, but we are unique when we practice all 3 spheres, in order to continue to demonstrate our value and impact as advanced practice registered nurses. We need to be able to push and expand our practice to continue to grow in healthcare.

Something I learned when I was a girl scout was to always “do a good turn daily,” and to always be prepared. As CNS, we need to not only do good deeds, but hold ourselves accountable to make sure that we are advancing our education and our practice, and most importantly have unstoppable advocacy.

Ask Phee Phee Anything: Diversity as a CNS

Hello to all my Ask Phee Phee readers, and happy day three of CNS Week! On this special Ask Phee Phee blog, as we celebrate CNS Week, we are going to be talking about the importance of diversity in the CNS role. The NACNS board recognizes that change is needed and is actively educating themselves and others through our initiatives this year and moving forward to create a more equitable workplace for all. 

What diversity initiatives does NACNS have in place for 2022-2023?

In 2022, NACNS has ramped up our DEI committee. This was initiated as a task force, and it has since grown and become more focused on making sure that nursing (specifically CNSs) is representative of the communities we serve. The DEI committee is making sure that members have equal opportunities within their role as a CNS. We released a DEI survey to hear from our members on diversity. 

The DEI committee’s first task identified with the survey was to investigate education, and training for diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as how to make the CNS role more diverse. Starting with members on the DEI committee, we are going to not only be more aware but actively trained to address the situation. DEI Committee Board Liaison Jerithea (Jeri) Tidwell, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, PCNS-BC, FCNSI, Chair Monica Coles, DNP, RN-BC, APRN, ACNS-BC, CDP, and co-chair Beckie Kronebusch, MSN, APRN/CNS are all helping immensely in their efforts to spread awareness and grow the committee to its full potential. 

Advocacy and Diversity

However, our goal isn’t to “form” and then not follow through. We have a commitment to change, a commitment to move forward and advocate for diversity. . Advocacy is so important at every level. Continuing to advance in our advocacy is reflective of how we take care of our patients.

Like most CNSs, I am not a member of a minority group, but I will continue to educate myself to better understand those who are and the challenges they could face becoming a CNS. If those in positions of power advocate for more diversity, then we can make a difference.  We can move beyond talking about diversity and (soon) see results.

For more on diversity, and how NACNS is actively making a change, make sure to register now for the 2022 Fall Summit on Oct. 18-19. The closing keynote on diversity and racism in nursing will be given by Marcus Henderson, MSN, RN, PhD Student.

Meet Your Board of Directors: Where They Went to CNS School and the Lessons They Took Away

As CNS week begins, NACNS wants to give members and readers a look into where their board went to school to become a CNS, and what lessons they took away from their programs.

The CNS board encourages members and other readers looking for more information on CNS programs to check out the program guide on the NACNS website. If you know of any CNS programs that are new, or not listed here, please reach out to to get the program on our website!

Phyllis Whitehead PhD, APRN/CNS, ACHPN, PMGT-BC, FNAP, FAAN, President of NACNS

What CNS program did you attend? 

Radford University, Radford, VA (No longer offers a CNS track; offers a post-graduate DNP)

What is the biggest lesson you learned through becoming a CNS? 

I went into nursing to make a difference in my patients’ lives. Being a clinical nurse specialist has taught me the importance of collaboration and hard work in positively impacting my patients and their families, as well as my nursing and medical colleagues and institution. The role of the CNS offers me the versatility to do what I need in whatever the situation warrants. There is simply no other role that I prefer to have in healthcare.


Jan Powers, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, FCCM, FAAN, Past President of NACNS

What CNS program did you attend? 

Indiana University School of Nursing

What is the biggest lesson you learned through becoming a CNS? 

The complexities surrounding healthcare, and how important nursing practice positively impacts patient outcomes and prevents complications. The CNS as an APRN is the guardian of nursing practice and continues to advance nursing to provide optimal patient outcomes. Advanced nursing practice is so much more than procedures and prescriptions, it is looking at the patient holistically, identifying evidence-based or innovative interventions to facilitate care so patients can reach their optimal state of wellness.


Mitzi Saunders, PhD, APRN, CNS-C,NACNS President-Elect

Mitzi Saunders

What CNS program did you attend? 

Oakland University, Rochester, MI – Adult Health CNS

What is the biggest lesson you learned through becoming a CNS? 

Besides it being the best APRN role, the ability to flex our skills in a variety of health care directions is my favorite part. I also think being a prescriber in my role as a CNS gave me a whole new appreciation for the art of CNS prescribing – I do believe every CNS should have some capacity in their role to be a prescriber, even if the formulary is tiny. 



Linda Thurby-Hay DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, BC-ADM, CDCES, Secretary/Treasurer of NACNS

What CNS program did you attend? 

I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Clinical Nurse Specialist program years before the release of the Consensus Model for APRN regulation.  My educational preparation was quite different from current requirements, and the conversation around full practice authority for APRNs was not underway.

What is the biggest lesson you learned through becoming a CNS? 

One lesson learned relates to the need for active engagement in the national conversation about the nursing profession. There are many stakeholders whose livelihoods are grounded in maintaining the status quo in healthcare delivery, while there is ample evidence that our model of care is ripe for innovation to better equip our people with the knowledge and tools to stay healthy, recover from illness, or die with dignity. Nursing must speak deliberately about changes in care delivery that will produce better patient outcomes, and articulate more clearly how professional nurses contribute to those outcomes. 


Ask Phee Phee: Keeping CNSs in Education

Happy August to all my Ask Phee Phee readers! I hope it has been a summer full of advocacy, and, getting outside to do something fun (for me, it’s been getting out on my husband’s Harley motorcycle)!

This month, we’re going to talk about CNS education, and regulations, or lack thereof, surrounding CNS education and the instructors. Check back during CNS week, September 1-7, for more Ask Phee Phee content!

Part of having continuous advocacy for all CNSs includes promoting that education and CNS programs are led by experienced CNSs. 

What are the guidelines for serving as a program director/coordinator in an academic setting? Does NACNS require or recommend that a CNS Program Director or Coordinator be a CNS in an academic setting?

This is an excellent question, and to answer in short, no, there is no requirement that a CNS educator must be a CNS, but NACNS does recommend it. This requirement can vary from state to state, so we recommend you check your state’s programs. 

It’s strongly encouraged that a CNS program has a CNS instructor, but it cannot be mandated. NACNS promotes? CNSs to be in academic settings, and on this, check out page 59 of the Clinical Nurse Specialist Statement on Education and Practice for more information.

Because the CNS role is so specific based on the area of practice, having a more generalized nurse or healthcare professional teaching CNS classes may cause the unique CNS experience to be overlooked. 

This education statement is also being updated from when it was last published in 2019. What is shown is the most recent –but it still needs to be updated. With our task force working diligently on this, it will be updated in 2024!

Can a Ph.D. or RN with a strong medical, surgical, or clinical educator/administrator background serve as a program coordinator in a CNS academic setting? 

Yes, RN and Ph.D. can teach CNS courses, but should they? Ethically this is such a specific role, CNSs need to be teaching CNSs. From a research perspective, having a Ph.D. is great for education. From the clinical perspective, they may not have the right experience. 

There is a shortage of nurses in academic settings, but also specifically clinical nurse specialists. Because we are smaller in numbers, there is already a lack of CNSs in the education field. We don’t want to lose any CNS programs and we are grateful for the nurses who are willing to teach the next generation, but we need to also advocate for programs to keep and hire CNSs in the education field.  

You can find the list of CNS programs around the country here. If there are any CNS programs you know of that are not listed here, please reach out! We want to ensure we have an accurate representation of the CNS programs currently active. If you are interested in starting or expanding a CNS program, let us know! We also have a Graduate Education Committee. Please reach out to!

Ask Phee Phee Anything: CNS Legal Issues and Scope of Practice

In case you haven’t heard yet, my name is Phyllis Whitehead, and I am the newly elected NACNS President. Phee Phee was my nickname given to me by my young nieces who couldn’t say Phyllis, and now what my grandchildren call me. So came to be my “ask anything” column. I aim to answer your questions about all things NACNS and keep a transparent dialogue going during my presidency. 

CNSs have a very specific role in the hospital within their specialty. I received a few questions regarding the legal complications surrounding being a CNS, as well as policy and practice. Let’s talk about it.

Are there any current legal complications surrounding CNS?

As with any occupation, there are legal complications with being a CNS. Now more than ever, CNSs must be aware of what is going on in both their country and their state. For example, the RaDonda Vaught case in Tennessee is a prime example of the level of responsibility that clinical nurse specialists have in ensuring best practices, as the best level of care must be given to the patient. CNSs need to be aware of varying legislation from state to state in order to best serve their patients, as well as protecting themselves by following state guidelines. 

On a federal level, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a substantial issue that impacts women’s’ health. For the CNS members who specialize in this kind of work, finding how they can now best advocate for their patients and practice is a newly evolving matter. With any of these legal scenarios, the primary focus should be ensuring advocacies for all, and to make sure that every patient is aware of what is going on during their care, and that the nurse is safe and protected as well. Anything in the legal world that effects hospitals, also effects clinical nurse specialists. 

What is NACNS doing to advocate for policy changes to allow full practice authority for CNSs? 

NACNS fiercely encourages remaining aware of what is happening state to state, and we are forming affiliates and creating tool kits to better equip our members with information about title protection and how to protect the CNSs full practice authority.

NACNS also is proudly and loudly excited about the volunteerism for committees and task forces, as CNSs are coming together and contributing to the conversation. Remaining aware of the current conversation is super important, and we cannot accurately represent the CNS community if we don’t hear from our members, so we encourage readers to reach out and become members of NACNS. 

What is Phyllis doing to advocate for this issue? 

I am on the Lace Steering Committee for licensing and education about the consensus model – which allows me to be at the table representing CNSs and NACNS. I am constantly advocating for the CNS role and practice. 

For example, NACNS has commissioned a Certification Task Force to explore innovation in addressing CNS specialty certifications such as mental and women’s health. July 14th is the first certification task force meeting, so it is a big date for us. I strongly believe in allowing CNSs to enter meaningful CNS roles in the hospital. 

What do we anticipate in the future for CNS scope of practice?

The future for the CNS scope of practice is promising, as we are working on hearing the CNS voice, getting the NPI numbers up, and showing that we are advanced practice nurses. The CNS affiliates are doing a great job and we want to advocate for them and keep gaining affiliate members to grow NACNS even more. I always say that there should be no CNS left behind, and that NACNS is the only organization specifically dedicated to advocating for CNSs. I will continue to answer your questions to the best of my ability to ensure complete transparency, and that no CNS is left behind. 

Thank you for reading, and until next time! If you are interested in asking Phee Phee a question about anything NACNS or CNS related, please visit our website home page and scroll down to the section to submit a question.