Awards and Scholarships

2024 Rising Star Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year Award

The Annual NACNS Rising Star Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year Award will be presented during the 2024 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.

Submit Your Nomination

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

Winners will be informed in December 2023.


  1. The candidate must be nominated by a nursing colleague and/or nursing supervisor.
  2. Candidate meets their state of residence’s requirements for CNS recognition by their state board of nursing.
  3. Active membership in NACNS at least for the past year.
  4. The candidate must have less than 3 years of experience as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
  5. The candidate must have been educated as a CNS in a masters, postmasters, or doctoral program.
  6. If selected, the candidate must agree to attend the NACNS annual conference and provide a photo suitable for inclusion in the conference program brochure.
  7. The candidate must demonstrate the following criteria:
    • Maintains an outstanding level of skill (practices at an outstanding level) and knowledge (speaks to current literature and practice issues frequently) in their specialty area.
    • Utilizes or demonstrates CNS competence in all 3 spheres of impact.
    • The candidate has made notable accomplishments that set them apart from other early career Clinical Nurse Specialists (e.g., publications, conference presentations, quality improvement projects).
    • Demonstrates quality patient outcomes and voices future practice changes as a result of their practice in direct and/or indirect patient/client activities.
    • Created or been involved in programs/initiative that demonstrates positive change for patients and/or staff.
    • Assists nurses in the delivery of patient care, advancement of nursing practice, engagement in evidence-based practice, and advancing their professional development.


A plaque recognizing the winner will be presented at the NACNS conference and the winner will be featured in the CNS journal. Nontransferable complimentary one day NACNS conference registration will also be awarded.


Applications received by the deadline will undergo review by the selection committee appointed by the Board of Directors. Award recipients will receive an email letter announcing if they have received their award and the day and time the award is planned to be presented. All candidate information must be received by November 6, 2023. This deadline will be strictly adhered to in the selection process.


Submit nomination package electronically via the form listed below.

Nomination Packet includes: 

  1. One letter of recommendation from a colleague who can affirm and speak to the candidate’s CNS work, limited to 2-page maximum.
    • Each of the criteria must be addressed in the letter with specific examples.
    • Instead of using name, the nominator must refer to them as candidate.
    • Indicate how the nominator knows the nominee (e.g., in what capacity/role, how long.
  2. A copy of the nominee’s current CV/resumé.
  3. Nomination letter and current CV will be submitted together in one pdf.
  4. All submissions must be typed copy.
  5. Selection is made based only on the information submitted.
  6. All information will remain strictly confidential and will not be returned.
  7. Winner will be notified by December 2023. Upon notification, the winner will be asked to submit an official picture for recognition at the next conference.