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Clin Nurse Spec. 2004 May-Jun;18(3):135-40.

Clinical nurse specialists: state of the profession and challenges ahead.

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  • 1Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, Wash 98195, USA.


Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are enjoying a rebirth. As health science and healthcare increase in complexity, it is critical that nurse experts provide leadership to improve patient care, advance nursing practice, and strengthen healthcare delivery systems. CNSs with specialty expertise combined with competencies in patient care, nursing practice, and healthcare delivery systems are essential to translating the products of our vast research enterprise into policies and practices that serve the patient. Many challenges loom. New diseases have emerged; treatments change constantly. We are newly aware of the gravity of the perils posed by natural and man-made disasters. Patients use complimentary and alternative health practices but we do not understand the power and risks of these approaches. Information technology makes possible new approaches to educating nurses and patients and tracking clinical outcomes. CNSs are vital to building a healthcare system that is evidence based, patient centered, outcome effective, safe, ethical, interdisciplinary, and cost-effective.

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