Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialists

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Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialists


2007 AJN Book of the Year Award Winner

Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialists: Best Practices presents the knowledge and tools the CNS needs to provide the best standards of practice and performance. It focuses on the role of the CNS in acute and critical care, emphasizing the relationship between critical care nursing, the patient, and the environment of care. Divided into 3 main sections, the framework of the book is based on the Scope and Standards of Practice for the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Acute and Critical Care and the AACN's synergy model. This book delivers up-to-date information for today's health care along with practical tools for the CNS in acute and critical care settings.
  • Provides a current guide for the CNS' role in acute and critical care for the most up-to-date information.
  • Reader-friendly presentation of information provides an easy reference that can be used in day-to-day practice.
  • Discussion questions based on the CCNS blueprint assist in review for the certification examination, making this book a seminal reference for nurses taking the CCNS certification examination.
  • Case studies present applied learning of the acute and critical care setting to prepare the reader for real-life situations.


Part I

Chapter 1: The CNS in Acute and Critical Care

Historical Perspectives: Mandate for Quality in Acute and Critical Care

Format for Chapter:

I. Evolution of the CNS

a. Acute and Critical Care—an overview

b. CNS role development

II. Theoretical perspectives

a. Definition of advanced practice

b. Related literature and research

III. Educational preparation

a. American Association of Colleges of Nursing perspective

b. Regulatory perspectives

IV. Scope of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for the CNS

a. Development

b. Implementation

V. Regulation of CNS practice

Chapter 2: From Novice to Expert: CNS Competencies

I. Theoretical perspectives

a. Models

b. Framework for practice

II. Review of the Literature

a. CNS in education

b. CNS in practice

III. Practice implications

a. Developmental activities

IV. Strategies to successful development of the CNS

a. Goal setting

b. Networking

c. Mentoring

Chapter 3: Synergy Model: Guiding the Practice of the CNS in Acute and Critical Care

I. Synergy Model Defined

a. Patient needs/nurse characteristics—a match

b. Applicability to the CNS

II. Dimensions of Practice

a. Dimensions defined

III. Standards of Professional Performance

a. Standards of Performance defined

Chapter 4: Spheres of Influence: Defining the Impact of the CNS

I. Spheres of Influence for the CNS

a. Different perspectives

i. ANA


iii. AACN

II. Patient/Family

III. Nursing personnel

IV. Organizational systems

V. CNS Making the difference

Part II
Dimensions of Practice for the CNS in Acute and Critical Care: Synergy in Motion

Chapter 5: Clinical Judgment

Chapter 6: Clinical Inquiry

Chapter 7: Facilitator of Learning

Chapter 8: Collaboration

Chapter 9: Systems Thinking

Chapter 10: Advocacy/moral agency

Chapter 11: Caring Practices

Chapter 12: Response to Diversity

Part III
Professional Development of the CNS in Acute and Critical Care

Chapter 13: Professional Growth

I. Mandate for professionalism

a. Life long learning

b. Dissemination of information

II. Professional responsibilities

a. Organizations

Chapter 14: Expanded Opportunities for the CNS In Acute and Critical Care

I. CNS in industry

II. CNS as entrepreneur

III. CNS in private practice

IV. CNS in research

V. CNS in faculty

Chapter 15: Issues and Future Trends

I. Issues in CNS practice

a. Educational

b. Ethical

c. Practice

II. Future trends in CNS practice

a. Resurgence

b. Growth while maintaining quality

c. Research


A. Scope of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for the Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

B. CCNS examination blueprint
AACN and Mary G McKinley, RN, MSN, CCRN, Partner, Critical Connections, Maxwell Center, Wheeling, WV; Clinical IV Staff Nurse, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Wheeling, WV
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