Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
Serving Patients, Families, Systems & Communities

Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

The VaCNS exists to enhance and promote the unique, high-value contribution of the Clinical Nurse Specialist to the health and well-being of individuals, families, groups, and community; to promote and advance the practice of nursing; and respond to the rapidly changing health care arena and challenges facing Clinical Nurse Specialists in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

VaCNS serves as the state authority on Clinical Nurse Specialists’ practice, education, and research, and strives to increase statewide visibility and influence of clinical nurse specialists. The Association provides a forum for Clinical Nurse Specialists to advance nursing knowledge, share resources, and discuss current issues to improve healthcare outcomes in Virginia.

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Expanding CNS Practice

The VaCNS is committed to attaining legislation and regulation to allow clinical nurse specialists in Virginia to practice to the full extent of their education in alignment with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation and according to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists' Statement on Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice and Education (3rd edition). Click on the links to learn more about the Consensus Model, and CNS Competencies.

These legislative changes are a long-term goal that will be attained incrementally and in collaboration with the other advanced practice registered nurse organizations in Virginia.

  • HB 1747, passed in the 2021 General Assembly, switched CNSs over from just being ‘registered’ to becoming ‘licensed', like the other APRN roles within our state. The bill also gave CNSs the option of prescriptive authority, which added Board of Medicine oversight in addition to existing Board of Nursing oversight. An unintended consequence of this change required all CNSs to enter into practice agreements with a physician, even if they did not want to prescribe. An amendment in the 2021 August Special Session Budget Bill temporarily removed the practice agreement requirement for CNSs who do not wish to prescribe. 
  • VaCNS introduced HB 285 for the 2022 General Assembly session to permanently remove the practice agreement requirement for CNSs who do not wish to prescribe. As of 3/2/22, the bill has passed both the House and the Senate. The bill was approved by the Governor on 4/7/22, and will go into effect on 7/1/22.

Department of Health Professions Report

The budget bill adopted in Special Session 1 of the 2021 General Assembly directed the Department of Health Professions to study and make recommendations regarding the oversight and regulation of advanced practice registered nurses. 

Click here to read the report.

The VaCNS is collaborating with the other APRN organizations in Virginia to plan next steps in introducing legislation based on the report's recommendations.

Why Am I Called a Nurse Practitioner?

Under current Virginia law, nurse practitioner is used as an umbrella term for all advanced practice registered nurses (

The terminology used on the Board of Nursing website is licensed nurse practitioner, specialization clinical nurse specialist. This is the same terminology used for certified nurse midwives (CNM) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA). Their licenses say licensed nurse practitioner, specialization certified nurse midwife and licensed nurse practitioner, specialization certified registered nurse anesthetist. 

We are all still clinical nurse specialists because that is how we were educated and how we are credentialed through our certification boards. 

Recent News & Announcements

Happy CNS Week! I want to take a moment to personally thank each of you for your dedication to the CNS profession and your continued VACNS...

Posted by Erin Smith

We are currently looking for potential candidates for three elected positions - President-Elect, Secretary, and Board Member at Large and would...

Posted by Amy Lucas

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Upcoming Events

Richmond, VA

Friday, October 21, 2022 at 7:15am ET

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Job Opportunities

Hollins, VA · Position at CVS Health

Job DescriptionHollins, VA (F/T)As a MinuteClinic Nurse Practitioner, you will provide accurate assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of common...

Alexandria, VA · Position at Fresenius Medical Care

PURPOSE AND SCOPE: The professional registered nurse Outpatient RN CAP 1 is an entry level designation into the Clinical Advancement Program (CAP)....

Fairfax, VA · Position at Inova Home Health

Agency:Inova Home HealthOur culture and people are what set us apart from other post-acute care providers. We're dedicated to the growth and...

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