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USA and Canadian CNS Associations Sign Agreement to Increase Visibility of 93,000 CNSs

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

United States and Canadian Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Associations Sign Agreement to Increase Visibility of North America’s 93,000 CNSs The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (U.S.) and the Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada Sign a Memorandum of Understanding

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) announced today that the organization has signed and renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada (CNS-C). The MOU unites North America’s two Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) associations with the joint objective of promoting activities that increase the visibility of the 89,000 US CNSs and over 3,000 Canadian CNSs in North America. CNSs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have graduate preparation, such as a master’s or a doctorate in nursing. Like other advanced practice registered nurses, US CNSs are trained in advanced physiology, pharmacology and physical assessment in addition to their particular areas of specialty. They are trained to diagnose, treat, prescribe and bill like other APRNs. The collaboration includes joint legislative and regulatory advocacy as well as marketing activities. Each CNS association will continue to appoint liaisons to meet quarterly with the responsibility of coordinating efforts between the two organizations. “Both organizations have similar opportunities and legislative objectives such as advocating for title and role protection and prescriptive and full practice for CNSs,” said past NACNS president Phyllis Whitehead, Ph.D., APRN/CNS, ACHPN, PMGT-BC, FNAP, FCNS. “There is strength in working together so that we have a more powerful CNS advocacy network. The continuation of this MOU ensures ongoing collaboration between our associations allowing us to combine efforts and present a united North American strategy to increase the visibility and value of the CNS role while promoting growth and attracting membership engagement for all CNSs.” “At a time of nursing shortages, supporting the experts in nursing who can support general staff nurses is critically important. This agreement allows clinical specialists in nursing to collaborate and support each other as we support the health care systems of both countries,” said Elsabeth Jensen, RN, BA, Ph.D. (Nursing) and president, CNS-C. “While there are differences between the health care systems in both countries, there are many similarities. The challenges faced by clinical nurse specialists are similar. Sharing strategies for promoting the CNS role will benefit the public and improve health care across the continent. CNSs are uniquely positioned to bring focus and contribute to change in complex health care systems and improve patient and system level outcomes.”


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