Awards and Scholarships

The Theresa Murray Clinical Nurse Specialist Scholarship for Quality & Safety, Clinical Excellence, and Professional Development

Beginning in 2024, the Theresa Murray CNS Scholarship will be presented annually during CNS Week in September.

The Theresa Murray Clinical Nurse Specialist Scholarship for Quality & Safety, Clinical Excellence, and Professional Development is named after one of NACNS’s founding members and an NACNS Past President who was an influential and beloved part of the nursing community. Theresa suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in early 2023.

Theresa’s nursing career included many roles serving as a critical care nurse, critical care clinical nurse specialist and CNS preceptor at Community Hospital Network in Indiana. Additionally, she shared her knowledge as an independent consultant and educator. She is described as a true “nurse’s nurse” and was a fierce, passionate advocate for the nursing profession, best possible patient care, and safety of both nurses and patients. Her friends and colleagues described her as brilliant, funny, loyal and dedicated. She served as a mentor, teacher and coach for many nurses and CNSs alike. She was a role model in ethical decision making and dedicated her career to improving patient safety and saving the lives of patients through evidence-based care.

She has numerous achievements and contributions including Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year Award from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. She achieved these honors for her work with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in developing the first Ventilator Bundle and model for the first Rapid Response Team. She was an active member of her community and was passionate about dog rescue, care of the homeless and served on the board of the directors for the YMCA.

The Theresa Murray CNS Scholarship for Quality & Safety, Clinical Excellence, and Professional Development will award up to $2,000 to students enrolled in an entry level CNS program or CNSs enrolled in doctoral or post-master’s certificate programs for either:

  • Academic program expenses
  • NACNS Annual Conference

The Theresa Murray CNS Scholarship is awarded by the Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute in conjunction with the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

Application Period: March 18-June 30, 2024

The application period is now closed.


  • NACNS member
  • CNS student
  • Actively enrolled in a CNS program (Master’s, Doctorate, Post-Master’s Certificate)
  • Passion for quality and safety and clinical excellence


  • NACNS or CNSI board member
  • Previously received this award

Rubric/Rating Scale (Likert)

Please address all four sections (500 words in total, headings included).

  • Quality & Safety
    • Describe involvement in Quality & Safety activities. What kind of projects have you been involved with and what were their outcomes?
  • Clinical Excellence
    • Describe two examples of when you have made a difference to your patients due to your drive for clinical excellence.
  • Professional Development
    • Describe involvement in Professional Development activities. Some examples are as follows:
      • Mentoring others in a clinical environment
      • Networking
      • Accountability
      • Influence in the community
      • Advocacy
      • Impact on raising the level of nursing practice
  • Learning Plan Goal Statement and Vision
    • Describe your goals for addressing any gaps identified above and how the scholarship you are proposing the funding will help you achieve your goals. Answer the questions: How do you plan to acquire the knowledge you lack? How will you apply the new knowledge to your practice?
  • Letter of recommendation from faculty OR from a leader in your clinical environment (this will be blinded to the reviewers).

Additional Requirements

  • Letter of acceptance to an entry level CNS or post-graduate CNS program
  • Proof of registration