A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Neonatology at MetroHealth Medical Center, Julie Medas, MSN, APRN-CNS, explains the unique aspects of the CNS role, providing examples from her own work. She also notes the importance of working in a hospital whose values align with her own.
I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist, one of four categories of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). My practice specialty is Neonatology and I work at MetroHealth. Although the primary focus of the other three APRN roles--Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and Nurse Practitioner (NP), is individual patient care, the CNS functions to impact not only the patient, but the patient population, nurses and nursing practice, and the organizational system of health care delivery.
The CNS role is flexible to meet the needs of a dynamic industry. Among the many initiatives and projects I have completed or been involved in are: establishing a perinatal bereavement program to address educational needs of staff and follow up phone calls for families; discharge coordination; consultanting on complex patient care issues; maintaining evidence-based nursing standards; representing nursing on the hospital policy committee; facilitating quality improvement; carring out research projects; serving as an instructor for the Neonatal Resuscitation program and STABLE courses; performing needs assessments and designing educational programs to bridge practice gaps; disseminating findings; and mentoring staff.
I have had the honor to work with so many amazing nurses both at Metro and within the region over my nearly 40-year nursing career. Networking and collaborating with colleagues, both nurses and other health care professionals, to ensure that the highest quality of care is delivered to support optimal outcomes, as well as mentoring nurses to continue in that path, are some of my most treasured accomplishments.
My advice to all nurses, whether future, novice or expert, is to engage in your profession: Keep learning, join professional organizations (including local chapters), network, keep current with evidence-based literature, assist with projects on your unit or within the organization, attend conferences, capture and disseminate best practices by writing a manuscript or presenting at conferences, be a patient advocate, and take a nurse under your wing. I am so blessed to have found my passion in neonatal nursing within a magnet organization. MetroHealth’s STAR-IQ values fit with my values: Service to others, Teamwork, Accountability, Respect, Inclusion & Diversity and most important to me, Quest for Excellence. I hope you embrace and enjoy your career as much as I do!