The following article features coverage from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2018 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) well-positioned in the perioperative setting can provide broad support that may improve outcomes for patients, perioperative staff, and the organization, a presentation at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) 2018 Annual Meeting has shown.

For this report, the role of the CNS in each setting was investigated to highlight the importance of this valued team member. The perioperative CNS collaborates with key members of the operative team, including other nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons, and radiologists, to ensure positive patient outcomes. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 6 CNSs are assigned across the perioperative continuum (presurgical center, PACU, interventional radiology, and operating room) for both ambulatory and traditional surgical areas.

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CNS-led initiatives resulted in successful implementation of electronic health records systems, which increased compliance with documentation. Their hands-on involvement in the immediate postprocedure process reduced retained foreign objects to 0. CNS attentiveness to nursing sensitive indicators of surgery/procedural-related compartment syndrome improved patient outcomes and introduced subsequent cost savings. In addition, the CNSs offered education and staff mentoring innovations that increased staff engagement in organizational initiatives.

The significance of the CNS as a member of the perioperative team was recently recognized by the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). At our facility, “the CNS collaborates across multidisciplinary specialties to deliver comprehensive care to patients, support and education to the staff, and quality improvements for the organization.”


Lombardo K, Saulan MM, Kitzler R, Murphy J, Cote Robson P. The impact of the clinical nurse specialist throughout the perioperative continuum. Oral presentation at: NACNS 2018 Annual Conference; February 28-March 3, 2018; Austin, TX.