Clinical nurse specialists
Why a clinical nurse specialist?
Health care is continuously evolving and is delivered within highly complex systems. The knowledge and technology that drive change need to be rapidly managed in a manner that allows the practitioner (physician, nurse, allied health professional) ready access and competence to effectively and efficiently influence positive, safe patient outcomes.
Therefore, there need to be enduring mechanisms and roles within the health care system that bridge the gap between new knowledge, technology and practices. The clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role is uniquely designed to fulfill this function within defined populations of patients.
What is a clinical nurse specialist?
The clinical nurse specialist is recognized by the state of Indiana as an advanced practice registered nurse.
The CNS has a master of science degree in nursing and is a recognized expert in nursing care of patients and families within defined populations.
The CNS sets the standards of practice for a defined nursing specialty for the network. These standards impact services at the patient/family, nurse/caregiver, and network/system levels of care.
The clinical nurse specialists described here focus on the advancement of nursing practice and not on the delivery of primary medical/behavioral care.
How do clinical nurse specialists function?
The clinical nurse specialist is a recognized clinical leader who assures state-of-the-art, evidence-based nursing care through:
- Expert direct patient care
- Interdisciplinary collaboration
- Disciplined inquiry
Using the tools of performance improvement, the CNS leads clinical program development and improvement, innovation design and testing, and practice change within nursing and its specialties.
Where do clinical nurse specialists practice?
Clinical nurse specialists practice throughout the network. The CNS works in partnership with nursing leadership and staff in all acute care and ambulatory settings. The specialties in which the CNS practices are:
- Critical care
- Women and children
The CNS may also have unique expertise for example in the following:
- Alteration in cognitive function
- Care at the end of life
- Pain/symptom management
- Invasive procedures
- Stress-related illness
When would you contact a clinical nurse specialist?
Clinical nurse specialists are expert, experienced nurses who are prepared to meet the customers’ needs and expectations for high quality and nurse-sensitive patient outcomes. Some examples of when a CNS can be helpful are:
- Complex/difficult patient care issues
- Need for program development
- Need for consultation regarding the nursing/ medical specialty
- Ethical or moral tension issues
- Issues of quality/safety within the specialty
- Patient/family/provider satisfaction issues
- Concerns regarding technology
- Product evaluation and analysis
- Issues of advanced competency
- Care redesign
Who are Community's clinical nurse specialists?
Jonell Allen, MSN, R.N., RNC, CNS-BC
Peggy Barksdale, MSN, R.N., OCNS-C, CNS-BC
Janel Borkes, MSN, R.N., RN-BC
Diane Doty, M.S., R.N., CCRN
Deb Ferguson, MSN, R.N., CCRN, CNRN
Jackie Loper, MSN, R.N., ACNS-BC, CWOCN
Theresa Murray, MSN, R.N., CCNS, CCRN
Julie Painter, MSN, R.N., ONC