There have been so many great things happening that it’s hard to believe that the year is half over. Thanks to the hard work of the membership, we’ve scored a lot of wins we can all feel proud of so far. As people wind down for summer vacations, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished in the first half of the year.
In this article, we’ll talk about new committees, a new scholarship, a great conference, education updates, and the regulatory and legislative work we’ve done.
Two New Committees to Encourage Younger Members
In 2023, we started the Next Gen committee to build public awareness of the CNS role using Instagram and TikTok. Their second meeting took place on July 21, and they’re already excited about helping to promote the role on these wildly popular social platforms — stay tuned for the links.
The Novice to Exceptional Transformational (N.E.X.T.) CNSs also started this year, with their first meeting coming soon – and we’ll be sure to announce it. N.E.X.T. CNSs includes our 300 CNS student members and over 80 transition-to-practice members — our highest numbers ever for these groups.
The committee is about helping new CNSs transition into their careers. Experienced CNSs nurture and mentor them, teach leadership skills, and provide all kinds of tips to help them launch their careers. Samantha Knight, a CNS student, is their first facilitator.
Annual Conference was a Huge Success
In March, our annual conference saw one of our highest attendance numbers yet. We had over 120 podium presentations including 12 pharmacology presentations. The increase in pharmacology presentations will only continue with the shifting paradigm of CNS practice to prescribing roles. We hope to have 25 pharmacology presentations at the next conference in New Orleans (March 10-13 2024).
In June, NACNS President Mitzi Saunders was a guest on a webinar for the National Association of Hispanic Nurses — an organization with thousands of members in 40 local chapters. You can watch the video on YouTube, moderated by Mayra Garcia, who is a CNS.
We had an extra 20 minutes of excellent questions at the end. A few of the people who attended are interested in the CNS role and have reached out to us to get more information or to get started. We need more diversity in the CNS role, and with this video, we are trying to do our part!
A New Partnership for Stronger Practice
The Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare promotes improved evidence-based practice (EBP) implementation science. NACNS has signed a contract with them for a partnership to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our members in terms of implementation science. A timeline is being worked on for a January 2024 rollout (keep an eye out at that time for a webinar signup).
To support this initiative, ex-officio board member and CNS Journal Editor Jan Fulton and a small strategic planning group have led the creation of a new Center of Excellence for Implementation Science. This Center will lead the execution of improvement initiatives once we’ve worked with the Helene Fuld team to understand our needs. This is a big opportunity to grow our strengths in this regard.
Finding New Ways to Share Our Census Data
Very soon we’ll be sharing two highly visual infographics that will introduce a storytelling element to the results of our 2022 census. Once you have them, we encourage you to share them, print them, and post them where you work as a conversation starter.
One of the most significant takeaways about the Census is the wonderful level of engagement. COVID hurt nursing badly, and some nurses even left the profession. Not everyone embraces a situation like this and tries to help, but our CNSs stepped forward.
Similarly, for the last three years, CNSs have ranked higher in career satisfaction than any other group (RN, LPN, NP, NM, NA, and CNS) in the Medscape survey; they saw the need for more nursing support. CNSs come to this career because they want to make a change happen, and there was no better time to do that than during COVID.
Partnership with Consultant on NACNS Messaging
Dr. Winifred Quinn of AARP is a non-nurse consultant with expertise in communications who assists nurses in practicing to the limit of their education. We’re working with her on primary target audiences and messaging.
She recommended that we highlight patient and family outcomes. She also recommended that we target the roles who are the ultimate decision-makers about using CNSs in healthcare systems: CFOs and CEOs. They are responsible for the financial health of their businesses, so we need to showcase the financial wins that CNSs are able to achieve.
The Katie Brush Critical Care CNS Scholarship was created in honor of Katie Brush, who suddenly passed in 2007. She was a strong CNS advocate, an NACNS board member, and critical care clinical nurse specialist for over ten years at Massachusetts General. We will announce this year’s awardees very soon.
Regulatory Action and Wins
New Position Statements
We created two new position statements: Entry for CNS Practice Position Statement and Clinical Nurse Specialist Full Practice Authority, with a third paper submitted for comments from our members. Two more are coming soon, one on title and role protection and the other on our position on compact states. In a nutshell, we’re for the concept of being able to practice in multi-state groups, but against the red tape that means we have to do more work to do what we do.
ANA Hill Day
On June 15, NACNS members supported the American Nurses Association for ANA Hill Day. Linda Thurby-Hay, our secretary-treasurer, was on-site to formally represent NACNS, along with an enthusiastic group that included Pamela Moss, board members, CNS at Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as many other NACNS members.
This was our first year organizing a group to attend, but everyone who was there have said that they would definitely go again. We’re speaking with the CNS Institute to get funding so that more participants can attend next year.
We are also looking at organizing also our own “mini” Hill Day. The Legislation and Regulatory Committee is working on this, led by chair and co-chair Elizabeth Duxbury and Elizabeth Hoxie, along with board liaison Rick Bassett.
A Win in Maryland
On May 3, the Governor of Maryland signed a bill giving clinical nurse specialists in the state to have prescriptive authority. While this was not an NACNS-led initiative, it is a huge milestone for CNSs in Maryland and all over the country.
NPI Campaign Continues
The campaign to encourage more CNSs to get NPI numbers continues. This is important because we want to change the Bureau of Labor statistics classification of CNSs from RNs to APRNs. Only when enough CNSs have NPI numbers can we work towards getting the classification corrected.
More Important Ongoing Work
We have many more important goals that we are working on.
Our EDGE learning platform is now in year two, and we have overwhelming engagement on the platform! We have four bundles of courses we’re developing this year, including more pharmacology. We’ll continue to develop courses and webinars and other materials to ensure our members have a convenient way to earn CE credits. It’s all about CNSs teaching CNSs, and we have a lot of talent in the group.
The work towards CNS recruitment and enrollment also continues. We have too few CNSs out there, too few programs, and too few students in those programs. One of the best marketing tools for something like this is word of mouth, so we’re trying to ensure that all of our students feel supported and well-mentored so they spread the word to their friends and colleagues.
We’re also trying to appear on more podcasts to bring greater visibility to the CNS role.
Stay Connected for All the Latest Updates
There’s still so much to do, and always more to accomplish — but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. To find out all of our new updates as they happen, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.