Awards and Scholarships

2024 Brenda Lyon Leadership Award

The Brenda Lyon Leadership Award recognizes extraordinary leadership in service to NACNS. It is named for Brenda Lyon, a founding member and the second president of NACNS, and is presented at NACNS’ Annual Conference.

The purpose of the award is to nationally recognize an NACNS member for emerging excellence as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in the three spheres of CNS impact.  The award recognizes the potential of a Clinical Nurse Specialist who demonstrates excellence, leadership, innovation, and a focus on valuable contribution to improved patient outcomes early in their career.  Nominees for this award demonstrate their commitment to the Clinical Nurse Specialist role through a high standard of practice and professionalism, implementation of evidence-based practice to improve patient, unit or system improvements.

Please review the criteria and submit a completed application with corresponding rationale supporting candidates who you recommend for this award.

This is awarded by the NACNS Board of Directors. Current board of directors not eligible.

Submit Your Nomination

The application period will be October 10-November 6, 2023.

Winners will be informed in December 2023.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The candidate must be educated as a CNS in a masters, postmasters, or doctoral program and meet state requirements for licensure and certification.
  2. Continuous membership in NACNS for at least the past five years.
  3. The candidate demonstrates evidence of having met the following criteria:
    • Demonstrates outstanding leadership to NACNS including but not limited to serving on board of directors, leading committees, task forces or other ad hoc initiatives.
    • Evidence of notable accomplishments in leadership to NACNS such as position statements, white papers, publications, conference presentations, or policy advocacy. Demonstrating ongoing leadership in NACNS and the clinical nurse specialist role
    • Evidence of having created or significantly contributed to programs or initiatives that resulted in positive outcomes for CNSs and NACNS.
  4.  If selected, the candidate agrees to receive the award in person at the next NACNS annual conference.
  5. Current members of the NACNS board of directors are not eligible.


  1. Applications received by the deadline will be reviewed by the Board of Directors.
  2. Selection is made based only on the information submitted.
  3. All information will remain strictly confidential and will not be returned.
  4. Applicants will receive an email letter announcing the outcome of the review.
  5. Upon selection notification, the award recipient will be asked to submit an official professional portrait picture.


  • A plaque recognizing the recipient will be presented at the NACNS conference.  Nontransferable complimentary one day NACNS conference registration will also be awarded.


Nomination Packet Includes:

The candidate must be nominated by an NACNS member who can speak to their service to the organization. Submit a nomination package electronically that includes:      

  1. One letter of recommendation from a colleague who can affirm and speak to the candidate’s service, limited to 3-page maximum.
    • The criteria must be addressed in the letter with specific examples.
    • Indicate the relationship between the nominator and the candidate
  1. A copy of the nominee’s current CV/resumé.
  2. A 200 – 300 word statement to be used at the award presentation and in press releases. This statement should include a brief biography of the nominee and exemplar(s) of the nominee’s work.
  3. Submit the nomination by November 6, 2023.
  4. Submit the nomination packet using the application form.
  5. Nomination letter and current CV will be submitted together in one pdf.
  6. All submissions must be typed copy.