NACNS Newsletter: President’s Message
September 1 to 7 is a special week for CNSs each year, but this year’s CNS Week theme is something that CNSs model throughout our careers, on many levels. Clinical nurse specialists are agents of change in the healthcare system who possess the skills and expertise to identify gaps in healthcare delivery and design and implement effective interventions to improve care. To be these change agents, NACNS is committed to working with policymakers, healthcare organizations, nursing and professional groups, and other thought leaders to make sure that the unique perspective of CNSs is included when addressing the most pressing issues facing quality patient care and the nursing profession.
2017 has been a busy year for NACNS, especially with the debate surrounding healthcare reform. It is important to understand that NACNS does not endorse any political party, but the association is determined to ensure that proposed changes to healthcare policies and legislation support our mission and goals. We exist to advance the unique expertise and value the CNS contributes to healthcare, including promoting full scope of practice for CNSs and the benefits CNSs bring to evidence-based quality care, patient safety, and care delivery cost savings. We will continue to make sure that any future policies or legislation reflects these priorities.
The Board of Directors is guided by the NACNS’ 2016 to 2018 Public Policy Agenda, found online at www.nacns.org/advocacy-policy/public-policy-agenda/. It prioritizes the association’s focus on the nurse workforce, healthcare reform, and health information technology. The NACNS is also leading the change for healthier lives through our work to address opioid misuse, pain management, and malnutrition with our Opioid and Malnutrition Task Forces. We are speaking out and making the voices of CNSs heard through public comments, letters, and testimony. For example, in a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, NACNS urges CMS to include safe use of opioids and malnutrition assessment in electronic clinical quality measures. In a submitted testimony, NACNS publicly supported federal funding for the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs, programs that provide training for entry-level and advanced-degree nurses to improve the access to, and quality of, healthcare in underserved areas. The NACNS will continue our efforts to recognize full scope of practice in all 50 states and remove barriers to access to CNS practice and reimbursement for our services.
As we lead the change for healthier lives this week and every week, we will continue to respond to the ever changing healthcare environment, advocating for our patients and our role knowing that our efforts will lead to positive change.