CNS Institute

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute (CNSI), founded in 2016 as an arm of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS), serves to develop and promote the charitable, educational, innovative clinical practice, and scientific purposes of NACNS.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute is the The 501(c)3 arm of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

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2020 CNSI Nursing Research Grants

In alignment with the Institute’s mission and vision, the CNSI is encouraging research proposals related to projects and/or investigations that focus on the improvement of patient care, safety, patient and health outcomes, health system processes, or educational processes and related outcomes.

Download the Research Grant Application

Applicant Qualifications

The following criteria shall apply to all projects funded by this committee:

The principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator must be a present or past clinical nurse specialist engaged in the practice of nursing and a participant in all phases of the project.

The PI or co-investigator must be a current member of NACNS and member of NACNS for at least one year prior to grant application.

A signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) must be completed in the application which includes an agreement to submit the results of the research to the clinical nurse specialist journal and abstract to the NACNS annual meeting.


The CNSI will be awarding and funding up to two research grants. Each grant will be funded up to $5,000.

The majority of funds are to be used for conducting the research including supplies/resources, clerical or research assistance, travel expenses related to the conduct of the study, data analysis or other appropriate expenses directly related to the research project. Monies can be used for dissemination of findings (i.e., travel expenses, poster printing, etc.). A budget with a narrative budget justification must be included in the application package. Research projects shall be completed within 2 years with an interim report after one year, if applicable, and a final report at study completion.

Funds must be used within 2 years of the award and unused funds are to be returned to the CNSI.

Monies will be released pending receipt of a letter of approval from the Institutional Review Board. The applicant needs to identify who and where the monies are to be issued (i.e., name, address).


Applicant(s) must follow all instructions, inclusive of specified format and application completeness.

The application process is completed by downloading an application form from the CNSI website, completing it, and emailing it back to CNSI with the project narrative, budget and justification, and attachments, if applicable.  A short, 3-5 page bio-sketch, highlighting research skills and experience is needed.

FAXED copies of the application are not accepted.  Research project must be emailed to with the subject line: “Research Application.[your last name].”

Unless otherwise specified, applications must be emailed no later than November 22, 2019. The applicant must meet qualifications and follow specified format to be eligible for review.

Specified Format

Page size of 8 ½ x 11.

Double spaced.

Borders can be no less than one (1) inch.

Font size restricted to 12 point.

Project narrative should include:

  • Problem
  • Significance to nursing and CNS practice
  • Background and information
  • Methods (design, sample and size, setting, variables, instruments with validity and reliability, procedures, timeline)
  • Data analysis plan
  • Protection of human subjects including informed consent, if applicable, risks and benefits
  • References

Proposed budget and narrative justification should follow the project narrative.

Project narrative for proposed research cannot exceed 10 pages, excluding attachments. Note: Budget and justification is included in the application. If the study has received IRB approval, one attachment needs to be the letter of approval. Applications not meeting these criteria will not be reviewed.



CNS Institute Events at the 2020 Annual Conference:

To enhance the vision and visibility of CNSs, the CNSI launched the Fellowship Program in 2019. CNSI Fellows have made significant and impactful contributions to advance the CNS role in their communities and state, and across the nation.

The Induction Ceremony on March 11 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, is an evening event to recognize and honor the new class of fellows. The Ceremony begins with dinner, followed by recognition of each new fellow with presentation of their FCNSI pin and certificate.


Click Here for More Information on Sponsorship Opportunities for the Fellowship Induction Dinner

Other sponsorship opportunities are available for the NACNS 2020 Annual Conference. For more information click HERE or contact


Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute Announces 2020 Class of Fellows

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute (CNSI) is pleased to announce the 2020 Class of CNSI Fellows. This is a highly prestigious honor and only awarded to those members of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) who epitomize the excellence of Clinical Nurse Specialist as leaders of the nursing profession, staunch advocates for patients and families, and forerunners of innovations to improve the health of populations. The new fellows will be inducted on Wednesday, March 11 during the NACNS 2020 conference. Guest tickets for attending the dinner event are available on the NACNS conference registration website.*

Click here to see the 2020 Class of Fellows!

*To purchase a guest ticket, click on register now, enter your information, expand the Wednesday options and add a Guest ticket to your itinerary.

CNSI Video Competition

The winners for the 2019 Video Competition are:

First place in the Team Category
Lori Brittingham, MS, RN, CNS, ACCNS-N, of Reading Hospital for “The Reading Hospital CNS team: We Won’t Stop’’

First place in the Student Category
Lynda Mackin, PhD, AG PCNP-BC, CCNS, GS-C, UCSF School of Nursing, Class of 2019 Adult-Gerontology CNS
Students, for “Promoting the CNS Role”

Honorable Mention:
Barbara Hill, Emory Healthcare: What is a CNS
CNSDraft4 (1) – Small

Honorable Mention:
Katie Hopkins, Penn Medicine: Clinical Nurse Specialists: Influencing Clinical Care, Driving Value

2019 CNS Institute Board of Trustees  

Chair: Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCN
Interim Associate Dean for Academic Administration and Graduate Education, University of Oklahoma Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Vice Chair: Sharon Horner, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Dean for Research, Dolores V. Sands Chair in Nursing Research, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Treasurer: Susan B. Fowler, PhD, RR, CNRN, FAHA
Nurse Scientist, Center for Nursing Research, Orlando, Florida

Trustee: Gayle Timmerman, PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Trustee: Jan Powers, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, CNRN, FCCM
Director of Nursing Research and Professional Practice, Parkview Regional Health System, Indianapolis, IN

Trustee: Kathleen Evanovich Zavotsky PhD, RN, CCRN, CEN, ACNS-BC, FAEN, FCNS
Assistant Vice President, The Center for Professional Development, Innovation and Research, Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital(Not in photo)