Year: 2022


Establishment of a clinical nurse specialist-led, virtual aneurysm surveillance clinic

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated significant changes to the manner in which healthcare is delivered. Chief among these has been the need to rapidly adopt virtual, or telephone clinics as a means of reducing unnecessary patient exposure to hospitals and clinical care settings. We were greatly aided in our adoption of virtual clinics by our experience in the establishment and maintenance of a Clinical Nurse Specialist-led, virtual clinic for both abdominal aortic (AAA) and extra-aortic aneurysm (EAA) surveillance within our department since 2016. Patients undergoing surveillance for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) require frequent and lifelong clinical review. Previous studies have shown that post-operative surveillance in particular is critical in prolonging survival in AAA patients and in the early detection of late complications particularly following endovascular repair (EVAR). Poor compliance with EVAR surveillance has been shown to result in worse outcomes.

AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the success of a nurse-led virtual clinic programme in terms of the safe management of patients undergoing AAA surveillance in a nurse-led virtual clinic.

RESULTS: Over the course of the 4-year period from 2016 to 2019, 1352 patients were enrolled in the virtual aneurysm surveillance clinic. The majority of patients each year were male, ranging from 78.2% in 2016 to 85.2% in 2017. The majority of patients encountered the service owing to pre-operative surveillance of an AAA, with this group comprising at least 65% of the total cohort of patients each year.Over the course of the 4-year period of the virtual clinic there were 1466 patient encounters. Each ambulatory day care centre (ADCC) attendance normally costs the hospital €149. Therefore, a total saving of €218,434 resulted from this initiative alone. No patient presented as an emergency with a ruptured aneurysm during the time period studied.

CONCLUSION: Patients with AAA can be safely kept under surveillance in a nurse-led virtual clinic. Our experience with this model of care proved to be particularly advantageous during the period of the early COVID-19 pandemic.

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National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists 2022 Award Winners and New Board Announced

National Awards Recognize Clinical Nurse Specialists for Outstanding Professional Achievement 

RESTON, VA – March 23, 2022 – The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) recently unveiled its 2022 award winners, president, president-elect and new board of directors at its Annual Conference. Phyllis Whitehead, PhD, APRN/CNS, ACHPN, PMGT-BC, FNAP, FAAN was elected president and Mitzi Saunders, PhD, APRN, CNS-C. was elected president-elect of NACNS. New board members include: 

  • Rick Bassett, MSN, RN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCRN, FCNS
  • Susan Dresser, PhD, MSN, APRN-CNS, FCNS
  • Cherrie Pullium, DNP APRN ACNS-BC, FCNS

NACNS is the national, non-profit organization representing the 89,000 clinical nurse specialists (CNS) in the United States and is dedicated to advancing the practice and education of CNSs. CNSs are one of the four Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN).

Twelve CNS Award Winners Honored

The twelve award winners were honored for their professional achievements and contributions to advancing the CNS profession in the United States. Award winners were nominated and selected to receive the honors by their APRN peers. More NACNS Award Program information can be found here. 

“These twelve award winners represent everything CNSs stand for; professionalism, community, and excellence,” said Phyllis Whitehead, PhD, APRN/CNS, ACHPN, PMGT-BC, FNAP, FAAN and president, NACNS. “In 2022 we are looking forward to honoring these and more CNSs who have shown exceptional dedication to the profession.” 

2022 NACNS National Award Winners

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year: 2022 Recipient: Kathleen Hopkins, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Educator of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Lynn Mohr, PhD, APRN, PCNS-BC, CPN, FCNS
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Evidence-Based Practice / Quality Improvement of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Lynne Brophy, MSN, PGMT-BC, APRN-CNS, AOCN
  • Armed Forces Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Wendy Hamilton, DNP, APRN, AGCNS-BC, RN-BC
  • Rising Star Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Kayla Little, MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, PCCN
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Researcher of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Tina Mason, PhD, APRN, AOCN, AOCNS, FCNS
  • NACNS Affiliate of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Mentor of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Commander Karen Flanagan, ACCNS-AG, AGACNP-BC, CEN
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Preceptor of the Year Award: 2022 Recipient: Jennie Matays, MS, RN, CNS, CCNS, CCRN
  • Sue B. Davidson Service Award: 2022 Recipient: Lynn Mohr, PhD, APRN, PCNS-BC, CPN, FCNS
  • Brenda Lyon Leadership Award: 2022 Recipient: Kimberly Elgin DNP, APRN, ACNS-BC, PCCN, CMSRN
  • President’s Award: 2022 Recipient: Sean M. Reed, PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN, FCNS

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.


Get to Know Your 2022 Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

What Has The Pandemic Taught You?

Mark your calendars and get your tickets now, because the NACNS annual conference is fast approaching on March 14th-17th in Baltimore, Maryland. 

This year, the theme of the conference is the Rise of the CNS. Back in person for the first time in two years, the annual conference will feature workshops, networking opportunities, an awards presentation, and three keynote speakers. 

To get to know the keynote speakers a little better, we asked them all a question about what they’ve learned through the past two years, and how that will affect nursing in the future.  See what they had to say below. For more information on the annual conference and to register, click here!

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, what is the most important thing this situation has taught you and how will what you’ve learned inform your future decisions? 

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller, MA Denver Health’s LGBTQ Center of Excellence

 One thing I’ve learned throughout the pandemic is the importance of flexibility and teamwork. This pandemic has been a challenge on so many different fronts for all healthcare workers and finding ways to accommodate and work together has been our saving grace, especially on some of the harder days. I am in constant awe of the incredible and brave frontline workers who I get to work with daily and their dedication to providing affirming and respectful care, even when times are scary.

Andrew Miller (he/him/his) provides training, consultation, and capacity-building assistance through the Denver Health’s LGBTQ Center of Excellence. Specializing in Transgender and Gender Expansive affirming care, Andrew provides trainings spanning across medical systems, public health departments, academic settings, and community-based non-profit programming. After graduating with a Master’s in Multicultural Clinical Counseling in 2019, Andrew combined his over ten years of national training experience with his passion for creating accessible, affirming clinical settings, and has focused his work towards medical and public health settings.

Mary Zellinger

Mary Zellinger, RN, MN, ANP-BC, CCRN-CSC, CCNS, FAAN, FCCM

 Teamwork, communication, and mentoring have always been cornerstones of successful interprofessional practice. During the pandemic, the need for effective and timely communication was especially essential. The importance of sharing information at least daily with colleagues internally in our healthcare system, and externally through list-serves, personal contacts, and organized webinars allowed all of us to learn from other’s experiences and quickly incorporate advances into our own practice.   Ensuring frequent communication with staff to provide support and share new information in a rapidly changing environment, frequent communication with patients who were unable to have family members with them, and frequent, scheduled communication with other team members and peers demonstrated to me that the impact of clear, informative, and ongoing communication prevents isolation and supports our mission of optimizing patient, staff, and community health.

Mary Zellinger RN, MN, ANP-BC, CCRN-CSC, CCNS, FAAN, FCCM was the CNS for Cardiovascular Critical Care at Emory University Hospital for over 42 years and was a collaborative faculty member of the Emory University School of Nursing in Atlanta, Georgia before retiring in November 2021.  She received her BSN from Duke University, her MN in Adult Health/Critical Care, and her Post Masters Nurse Practitioner degrees from Emory University.  

Deborah Klein

Deborah Klein, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCRN-K, FAHA, FAA

 One important thing the pandemic has taught me is that moral injury is real; nurses are tired, frustrated, and angry.  Many are retiring, traveling, or are leaving nursing resulting in dire staffing shortages. We must develop strategies that address moral distress and staffing shortages including ensuring a healthy work environment, effective communication, and meaningful recognition that creates well-being at work. My future actions will focus on developing and supporting these strategies. 

Deborah Klein, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCRN-K, FAHA, FAA recently retired as the Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Cardiac ICU, Heart Failure ICU, and Cardiac Short Stay/PACU/CARU at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio where she also served as Vice-Chair for the Ethics Committee. She has 45 years’ experience as a nurse and 39 years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Watch the keynote speakers live at the annual conference.  For more information on the annual conference and to register, click here!


Visibility and Value of a Clinical Nurse Specialist Team: Illustrating Impact Through an Annual Report

Nurse leaders play a vital role in expanding health care professionals’ understanding of nursing roles and communicating nursing team outcomes both within and beyond organizations. This article details the development of an annual report as an innovative approach to highlighting the professional role visibility and value of an advanced practice nurse team.

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Ted Walker: The stars align at PAMC

Ted Walker, A-CNS, CNOR, NPD-BC, CPPS, remembers when he knew being a nurse was what he was meant to do as a career. 

Ted Walker

 Two years into his career, a Yupik elder approached him on the floor of the Bethel, Alaska hospital where he worked for the U.S. Public Health Service. He had wondered how long Walker would be working there. 

“He said, ‘I think that you are a good nurse. This will be the last time I’ll speak to you in English,’” Walker remembers. “For a non-native person, it was quite a thing to have someone say that.” 

“If you were going to be there and live, and do everything you could do to help them, you’d do everything you could to learn the language,” says Walker.  

And so, he learned medical/conversational Yupik. But he also learned so much more. The 20-something nurse learned about sub-arctic life and the delivery of health care in a 50-village service area the size of Oregon.  

“It was wonderful,” says Walker, “There was a real sense of community. Everything is around subsistence. It’s about hunting, fishing and gathering – and surviving the seasons.” 

He and his wife also welcomed their oldest daughter there.  

“I learned the operating room in Bethel,” says Walker. He remembers being on call and supporting the one operating room at the hospital. He remembers the cold 100-yard walk from his home to the hospital. 

From Bethel, Walker transferred as an OR nurse into the Air Force, where he would ultimately achieve the rank of colonel, earn his advanced practice nursing credential as Clinical Nurse Specialist and spend two years as chief of safety for the Air Force Medical Service. 

He retired from the Air Force in 2017 after 26 years and moved back to the state where he started his career. 

“I wanted to work somewhere that supported my core values,” Walker says. “I spent my whole career working with ‘integrity, service before self and excellence in all you do. It was serendipity in a way. All the stars aligned.” 

The best part of his job at Providence Alaska Medical Center (PAMC) is coming in as a consultant to help staff nurses, clinical managers and nurse educators work through challenges, helping them realize “that they really do know the answers.” 

“It’s just helping them get to that point,” Walker says. “Many times, it’s just talking about it and going through the solutions.” 

“The staff in this organization really do look at our core values from the Sisters,” says Walker. “They want to take care of the poor and vulnerable and the people who need our help. It’s just about figuring out how we are going to do it – safely and the best way we can.” 

Through a partnership between University of Alaska Anchorage, the state’s hospital association and Providence, Walker now helps introduce all new surgical nurses to the operating room in Alaska. Whether part of Providence or another health system, nurses spend four weeks of classroom training in Anchorage before going to their home hospital where they work with a preceptor for an additional 11 weeks. 

“The best thing about being a Clinical Nurse Specialist is working with your population or your system,” says Walker. “For me, being an OR nurse as long as I have been, this was an extension to show that I’m an expert.” 

“It’s just an honor to work in this capacity,” says Walker.  

Walker is one of more than 1,200 nurses working at Providence Alaska Medical Center and one of more than 1,600 nurses who work in service of the Providence Alaska Region. The World Health Organization extended its 2020 “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” celebration into 2021. Providence couldn’t agree more.


2022 CNS Trends Look Good In The New Year

Jan Powers and Phyllis Whitehead discuss 2022 trends and the CNS

Jan PowersPhyllis Whitehead

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.  

To join or renew your NACNS membership:  https://nacns.org/connect/become-a-member/