Press Room

United States and Canadian Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Associations Sign Agreement to Increase Visibility of North America’s 93,000 CNSs

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (U.S.) and the Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada Sign a Memorandum of Understanding

RESTON, Va. – April 4, 2023 – The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) announced today that the organization has signed and renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada (CNS-C). The MOU unites North America’s two Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) associations with the joint objective of promoting activities that increase the visibility of the 89,000 US CNSs and over 3,000 Canadian CNSs in North America.  

CNSs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have graduate preparation, such as a master’s or a doctorate in nursing. Like other advanced practice registered nurses, US CNSs are trained in advanced physiology, pharmacology and physical assessment in addition to their particular areas of specialty. They are trained to diagnose, treat, prescribe and bill like other APRNs.

The collaboration includes joint legislative and regulatory advocacy as well as marketing activities. Each CNS association will continue to appoint liaisons to meet quarterly with the responsibility of coordinating efforts between the two organizations. 

“Both organizations have similar opportunities and legislative objectives such as advocating for title and role protection and prescriptive and full practice for CNSs,” said past NACNS president Phyllis Whitehead, Ph.D., APRN/CNS, ACHPN, PMGT-BC, FNAP, FCNS.There is strength in working together so that we have a more powerful CNS advocacy network. The continuation of this MOU ensures ongoing collaboration between our associations allowing us to combine efforts and present a united North American strategy to increase the visibility and value of the CNS role while promoting growth and attracting membership engagement for all CNSs.”

“At a time of nursing shortages, supporting the experts in nursing who can support general staff nurses is critically important. This agreement allows clinical specialists in nursing to collaborate and support each other as we support the health care systems of both countries,” said Elsabeth Jensen, RN, BA, Ph.D. (Nursing) and president, CNS-C. “While there are differences between the health care systems in both countries, there are many similarities. The challenges faced by clinical nurse specialists are similar. Sharing strategies for promoting the CNS role will benefit the public and improve health care across the continent. CNSs are uniquely positioned to bring focus and contribute to change in complex health care systems and improve patient and system level outcomes.”

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 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. Learn more and discover the benefits of joining the NACNS.

About the Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada 

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada (CNS-C) / Association des infirmières et infirmiers cliniciens spécialisés du Canada (ICS-C) is the only national association representing the clinical nurse specialists (CNS) in Canada. CNS-C officially incorporated in January 2016 and have representatives across the provinces and territories of Canada. CNSs have advanced education and specialized clinical expertise within nursing practice. CNSs provide a leadership platform through which they can impact and influence cost-effective health care system change to support safe, quality care and superior outcomes. In Canada, there is a need to develop more CNS Master in Nursing programs and achieve CNS title protection to ultimately improve patient/client outcomes. For more information or to join CNS-C, please refer to our website. 

For any media inquiries in the US, please contact:
Melissa Bednar
NACNS Public Relations

For any media inquiries in Canada, please contact:
Elsabeth Jensen
President, CNS-C

Paul-André Gauthier
Executive Member, CNS-C
Membre du Conseil Exécutif, ICS-C

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