Jan Powers and Phyllis Whitehead discuss 2022 trends and the CNS
As 2021 — the second year of the pandemic — ends there are some very positive trends taking shape for the CNS community. CNSs numbers, responsibilities and influence continue to grow as 2022 is certainly trending in the right direction for NACNS and CNSs.
Recently, President of NACNS Jan Powers, and President-Elect Phyllis Whitehead sat down to discuss some of the future trends they see for the CNS.
Overall, 2022 appears to be about growth. Growth in the CNS population. Growth in student enrollment in CNS programs, And growth in mental health services for CNSs to help deal with job stress. Keep reading to see what Jan and Phyllis had to say;
Q. The healthcare system is losing nursing professionals. Do you see this being a trend for CNSs as well in 2022?
We have close to 90,000 clinical nurse specialists in the United States and our membership is growing. So, the short answer is no. I think that the CNS is stronger now than ever and will continue to grow in numbers.
The pandemic has been horrible but one positive to come out of the chaos was the way CNSs contributed in leadership positions during the crisis. We have CNSs that act as providers and then we have CNSs in the hospital really focusing on evidence-based practice and improving patient outcomes. I think the beauty of the role is we can go back and forth, and pivot based on what the needs are. I see a lot of CNSs that act in a provider capacity and then are also looking at organizational or system improvements. We are confident that an important trend is that the role of the CNS will continue to expand in 2022 along with the number of nurses choosing the CNS career path.
Q. Is there one CNS trend for 2022 that you find surprising?
Yes. Innovation. We think the pandemic has created the opportunity for innovation. Innovation is where the CNS lives. This has resulted in great gains in responsibility and influence for CNSs as they are looked to for leadership and new ideas during the pandemic. We are seeing signs that CNSs are using this evolving status to advocate for other CNSs, other APRNs and, of course, patients.
Q. Has the pandemic effected the number of clinical nurse specialists coming into the field?
We had started to see a resurgence of the CNS role prior to the pandemic. What we’ve seen during the pandemic is really the rise of the CNS. We’ve really pivoted “on a dime” and increased innovation as to what do we need to do and how do we do it.
The big question is how do we continue to meet the needs of all our patients, wherever they are, whatever the setting? In 2022, this expansion of the scope of a CNSs’ work will continue to ramp-up and with it, more innovation in healthcare settings will result. Also, the trends toward CNS as credentialed service providers and prescriptive authority continues to remain strong.
Q. What are some goals for NACNS and for CNSs in 2022?
We had anticipated that there would be a decrease in applicants for nursing school, but we’ve seen an increase — which is super exciting. The thing that concerns us though is how do we keep them at the bedside? How do we maintain their mental health? We want to continue to work on that and advocate for clinical nurse specialists and all APRNs. We do see those advocacy activities expanding quite a bit in 2022.
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