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NACNS Newsletter: President’s Message

Hysong, Anne, MSN, APRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000378

This is my first column since becoming your President at the 2018 annual conference in March. I’m excited to be representing clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) on the national stage, showcasing the possibilities for growth in the next year and sharing information about the unique and vital role CNSs play in healthcare today!

Nursing is in my blood. I come from a long line of nurses that traces back to my great grandmother, a community health nurse in West Virginia in the 1920s. I graduated with my BSN from Georgia Southern University and fell in love with medical-surgical intensive care unit patients. But working in the intensive care unit wasn’t quite enough—I wanted to do more. I shadowed CNSs and heard CNSs speak at conferences, including Jacqueline Byrd, Marianne Baird and Barbara McLean. I decided to pursue my own MSN as an adult health CNS.

I realized in my last semester that CNSs did not have full practice authority in Georgia. The idea that I had undergone years of education and training and still wouldn’t be a fully licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) by the state of Georgia was preposterous. Instead of getting mad, I decided to get involved. I joined National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) and became an active member of my local affiliate, the Atlanta Area CNS group (now Georgia CNS). I served on committees, and I became motivated. Before I knew it, I was on the Board of Nursing’s Committee to write the rules for CNS APRN licensure in 2009.

During my term as president, I’m hoping to inspire more CNSs to get involved, to volunteer and share their ideas on how to improve care. NACNS is a vibrant, thriving organization full of the best and brightest CNSs in the country. But for far too long CNSs have worked quietly and diligently in the background. This year I hope to focus my energies on shining a spotlight on amazing contributions by CNSs. Earlier this year, we kicked off a partnership with the National Student Nurses Association to promote the CNS role with a series of free, informational webinars for students and nurses just starting in their careers to let them know about the exciting and versatile options available to CNSs.

Consider this a personal challenge: assess your own innovative work. Consider submitting an abstract for our 2019 conference: A Catalyst for Practice Change: The CNS. There are a wide variety of sessions to choose from: in-depth workshops, clinical management lectures, symposia, or podium presentations. The deadline for 2019 abstract submissions is May 21. Do you know some great CNS nursing students? Pass along the challenge and encourage students to present posters at next year’s meeting. The student poster deadline is December 4.

You are the spark that influences change in your patients, fellow nurses, and organizations. As we celebrate National Nurses Week and throughout the year, I challenge you to ignite the flame within you, ignite the passion that led you to become a CNS, and take it a step further. This year, continue to build relationships with those who will hire CNSs and encourage them to hire more. This year, encourage amazing staff nurses to continue their education and increase the supply of CNSs for the future. This year, speak out and address all the ways your work reduces healthcare costs and improves quality. Hearing about the amazing work of my CNS colleagues inspires me, and I hope that during my term as president, I can inspire you.

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In 2016, the Clinical Nurse Specialist Institute was founded as an arm of NACNS to develop and promote the charitable, educational, innovative clinical practice and scientific purposes of the association.



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The CNS Institute has created the inaugural CNS Fellowship to showcase CNSs who have made outstanding contributions to the CNS role, been a devoted mentor to future generations of CNS leaders, and directly impacted the CNS role in their communities.

Application requirements include the following:

  • providing a letter of endorsement by one colleague, preferably a supervisor, who can verify contributions to CNS practice and leadership,
  • being a current NACNS member and maintaining membership for the past 2 years,
  • having worked as a CNS for at least 5 years, and
  • being credentialed as a CNS or educated as a CNS, plus have significant past contributions as a CNS.

Applications for the inaugural CNS Fellowship will open on June 1 and close on October 1, 2018.

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Join CNSs from around the country at the fifth Annual CNS Educator’s Forum and the 17th Annual CNS Summit in the Washington, DC, area later this summer.

The 2 meetings on July 16 and 17 will provide a rich opportunity to discuss and explore questions that affect nursing education, research, and practice. The Educator’s Forum will be held on July 16 from 1:00 to 6:00 PM and will focus on issues for those engaged in CNS education. The following day, July 17 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, will focus on national policy issues affecting CNSs.

Visit for more information. Registration is expected to open in May.

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The NACNS will open its third biennial census of CNSs on June 1. All CNSs who identify as a CNS or were educated as a CNS are encouraged to take the survey before December 31, 2018. It is available on the NACNS Web site at

The NACNS launched this survey to showcase how CNSs benefit the healthcare system, patients, and families and help differentiate what CNSs do. It is the only source of workforce data on the CNS. The data collected about CNSs’ demographics, education, and practice will be used to inform policy and practice agendas.

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Abstract submissions are open for the NACNS 2019 annual conference.

Deadline for Abstract Submission: May 21, 2018

Deadline for Student Poster Submission: December 4, 2018

Those interested in submitting an abstract for consideration will be asked to select a topic of interest, which correlates with the association’s research agenda, and address the theme of the conference, A Catalyst for Practice Change: The CNS, in their abstract submission.

Topics of interest include the following:

  • Clinical practice application (eg, patient-centered outcomes, reduction in complications, comparative effectiveness projects, non–disease-specific phenomena);
  • Healthcare system (eg, delivery, services, costs, safety, nurse-sensitive indicators);
  • Healthcare policy (eg, scope of practice, regulation, prescriptive authority);
  • Health promotion (eg, wellness management, disease management, symptom management, quality of life, functional status, medications, and other therapeutics);
  • Education (eg, healthcare provider/students, patients, families, populations [vulnerable or unique], communities);
  • Palliative care across the lifespan; and
  • Pharmacology (please note: while pharmacology is not a category in the NACNS Research Agenda, the NACNS is adding this Topic of Interest for 2019.)

The NACNS uses the same abstract submission system for the following presentations: individual podium, symposium, clinical management lecture, workshops, and posters. Conference planners will select up to 4 workshops for the 2019 Annual Conference. Workshops are a new presentation option.

All abstracts should use the following headings:

  • Title
  • Significance and background
  • Evaluation methods
  • Outcomes
  • Implications
  • Individual podium presentation should be consistent with the conference theme, and abstracts should address at least one of the topics of interest. Presenters will have 20 minutes for their presentation, followed by 5 minutes for Q&A. The conference planning committee assigns the accepted podium presentations to break out sessions with other papers on similar topics. Abstract submissions must include the title reflecting the content of the presentation and identify the topic of interest, 1 learner objective, and an abstract text (limit 250 words). The author name(s) and affiliations must not be in the abstract text or title.
  • Symposium presentations are submitted as a collection of 3 papers. Each of the 3 paper presentations is 20 minutes each, plus a brief 5-minute overview that introduces the focus of the symposium. Presentations will conclude with a Q&A. The group of submitting authors will determine the focus of the symposium (eg, a standard process applied to different patient populations or settings, a single project with multiple outcomes where each paper focuses on one outcome, a single disease or condition with different approaches for management presented, etc). The symposium overview paper must include the symposium title, identify the topic of interest, and list 3 learner objectives. The overview text is limited to 250 words. The individual papers must each include a title that is consistent with the symposium focus and an abstract (limit 250 words). The author(s) and affiliations must not be included in the abstract text or title.
  • Clinical management lecture is an in-depth presentation on managing a chronic disease or health problem that includes the pharmacological management for the selected disease/health problem. Presenters will have 60 minutes for the lecture, followed by Q&A for 10 to 15 minutes. Abstract submissions for clinical management lectures must include the title reflecting the content of the presentation, 3 learner objectives, and an abstract text (limit 250 words). The author (s) and affiliations must not be included in the abstract text or title.
  • Workshops are approximately 2 hours in length and should be designed to provide in-depth, hands-on, and interactive presentations. The workshop’s structure is driven by the presenters, but should include a mix of content presentation, discussion, Q&A, and, if appropriate, demonstrations, learner participation, and/or small group work. Abstract submissions for workshops must include the title reflecting the content of the presentation, 3 learner objectives, and an abstract text (limit 250 words). The author(s) and affiliations must not be included in the abstract text or title.
  • Poster presentations are stand-alone visual displays focusing on one of the topics of interest. One presenter is required to be present during the main poster viewing session to respond to Q&A with conference attendees. Posters are used for works-in-progress or for completed works. The author(s) and affiliations must not be included in the abstract text or title.

All abstracts must be submitted online at

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The NACNS honored CNSs from California, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Oklahoma for their commitment to the vital role CNSs play in healthcare, improving health and wellness, and mentoring the next generation of CNSs at the association’s 2018 annual conference in Austin, Texas, earlier this year.

This year’s award winners are as follows:

  • 2018 CNS of the Year Kathleen Vollman, MSN, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN, Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, President of ADVANCING NURSING LLC and adjunct faculty member for Michigan State University’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Graduate Program, for outstanding professional achievement in all aspects of CNS practice.
  • Brenda Lyon Leadership Award Winner Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCN, Assistant Professor, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Administration and Graduate Education, and PhD Program Director at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, for extraordinary leadership in service to NACNS.
  • Susan B. Davidson Service Award Winner Elissa Brown, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC, retired Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Veterans’ Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, for extraordinary service to NACNS.
  • 2018 Preceptor of the Year Wayne Quashie, MSN, MPH, RN, CNS, ACNS-BC, AOCNS, a CNS with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, for outstanding professional achievement as a CNS preceptor who demonstrated a commitment to teach, coach, and mentor CNS students to achieve CNS competencies.
  • 2018 Presidents Award and Educator of the Year Janet Fulton, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, ANEF, FAAN, Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at Indiana University School of Nursing, for her extraordinary service to NACNS and outstanding professional achievement as a CNS educator and her commitment to excellence and innovation in preparing CNSs and in implementing the NACNS Statement on CNS Practice and Education.
  • 2018 NACNS Affiliate of the Year Oklahoma Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists for sustained membership growth, innovative and creative educational opportunities, building CNS leadership, contributing to the association’s growth, and advancing the CNS role.

Colleagues, students, or members of the NACNS Board of Directors nominated candidates for the awards.

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At its annual conference in March, NACNS announced its 2018–2019 Board of Directors and newly elected Nominating Committee Members. Each demonstrates leadership in nursing education, practice, research, and administration.

NACNS Board members are elected by the membership. The Board of Directors is responsible for establishing the organization’s mission, purpose, values, and direction. The Board also oversees the association’s strategic planning, evaluation, programs, services, and utilization of resources. Each Board member serves a 2-year term. They are as follows:


  • President—Anne Hysong, MSN, APRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC, Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist at Gwinnett Medical Center, Duluth, Georgia.
  • President-elect—Tracy Chamblee, PhD, APRN, PCNS-BC, CPPS, Senior Director, Quality and Patient Safety at Children’s Medical Center–Dallas, Texas.

Directors at Large

  • Niloufar Hadidi, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FA, Associate Professor (tenured) and Coordinator of Adult/Gero Clinical Nurse Specialist at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis.
  • Jan Powers, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, CNRN, NE-BC, FCCM, Director of Nursing Research and Professional Practice at Parkview Regional Health System in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  • Susan Smith, DNP, APRN, ACNS-BC, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Critical Care Services with Baylor University Medical Center in Waco, Texas.

The NACNS also announced 3 newly elected Nominating Committee members. The Nominating Committee is responsible for reviewing nominations for the Board of Directors and presenting the final slate of candidates for Board approval before elections are held. The new members of the Nominating Committee are as follows:

  • Claudia Barone, DNP, EdD, APRN, CCNS-BC, CTTS, Professor (tenured) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the College of Nursing in Syracuse, New York.
  • Amy Keyes, MSN, RN, CRNI, APRN, AGCNS-BC, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Heart and Vascular at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Susan Schedler, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CMSRN, Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist in Medical-Surgical/Oncology at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Merriam, Kansas.
  • Traci Smith, MSN, APRN, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Inpatient Cardiac Services at WellStar Health System in Marietta, Georgia.
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Last year, the NACNS joined the American Nurses Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Nursing Infection Control Education Network (NICE Network) to develop training programs for real-time infection prevention and control, improve adherence to best practice, and enhance nurses’ confidence when caring for patients with highly contagious diseases.

As part of NACNS’ work in the NICE Network, the association is sharing information on the CDC’s healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevention Progress Reports. The reports are intended to help states better understand their progress in HAI prevention and identify areas that need assistance.

2015 Marked the start of the new 5-year (2015–2020) goals of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care–Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination. This is a time of important updates and improvements for the CDC’s HAI surveillance system.

Download the reports at

Please visit the NICE Network section of our Web site for additional details and resources:

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