ECU nursing grad named national Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year

Pamela Moss, an East Carolina University double alumna, has earned a distinct honor: being named the 2024 Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year by the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS).

ECU alumna Pamela Moss speaks during the conference where she was honored as the 2024 National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists CNS of the Year. (Contributed photos)

The national honor comes in recognition of Moss’ dedication and distinction as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who specializes in cardiac surgery. Moss — a 2008 graduate of the Master of Public Health program and a 2013 graduate of the Alternative Entry Master of Science in Nursing program — said the recognition is particularly impactful because she was nominated alongside an impressive group of fellow CNSs by her peers.

“It is a tremendous honor to be nominated and selected by your peers. This recognition acknowledges my true love of nursing and of the clinical nurse specialist role. Being a CNS gives you the opportunity to impact patient care not only from the bedside but all the way through to national level policy change, and being recognized for this work is very meaningful,” Moss said.

The NACNS is a nonprofit organization that represents 89,000 CNSs nationwide, nursing professionals who have a unique role in providing direct patient care while also finding ways to optimize patient care across health systems and advocating for, and advancing, the nursing profession.

Dr. Jennifer Manning, NACNS president, said the 11 CNSs honored in March, including Moss, “consistently go the extra mile and make significant contributions to the profession.”

Moss currently serves in cardiac surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, but her impact on the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina can’t be understated. She worked at Vidant Medical Center, now ECU Health Medical Center, in Greenville from 2010 to 2021, in part as a critical care CNS, which garnered her another accolade.

“I was also honored as the first CNS to be nominated, and then selected, to receive the Advanced Practice Provider of the Year award for Vidant in 2019,” Moss said.

In her role as a CNS at Hopkins, she serves as a hands-on mentor for peers dealing with complex patients, frequently rounding with nursing staff to address systemic, sometimes difficult-to-nail-down issues like hospital acquired infections.

Pamela Moss, 2024 Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Year, wears a crab hat to signify her membership in the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists after receiving her award.

In addition to promoting the CNS as a resource within her home hospital, and across the hospital system, she is the president of the Maryland Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. In that role she was a key member of the group that got the state of Maryland to give prescriptive authority to CNSs and continues to lobby at her health system to extend credentialling and privileging to CNSs, extending their capacity to provide quality care to their patients.

Her advocacy work extends to the national level, pushing for National Provider Identification numbers and working on the taskforce to update the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Scope and Standards for the Acute Care CNS. She is also on the taskforce to update the NACNS Statement on CNS Practice and Education.

“The most rewarding part of my role as a CNS is having the support and opportunities to be involved in work that vastly improves patient care through influencing state and national policies,” Moss said.

Moss considers herself lucky to routinely extend her impact on the nursing profession by serving as a preceptor for undergraduate and graduate students.

“Acting in support for nurses working on quality- and evidence-based practice projects is a role that is especially dear to me,” Moss said.

Having dual degrees in nursing and public health has provided a “two plus two equals five” benefit for Moss in her work.

“Public health and nursing have always gone hand in hand,” Moss said. “The ability to understand epidemiological studies, statistics and health policy has elevated my CNS practice. And then taking this information upward to state and national level entities in support of policy changes is the ultimate juxtaposition of my degrees.”

Dr. Julie Linder, a clinical associate professor in the Advanced Practice Nursing and Education Department, said the honor is significant for Moss and Pirate nursing.

“I have been a colleague of Mrs. Moss since 2014 and am extremely proud of the hard work and determination she has demonstrated in the advocacy for the CNS role,” Linder said. “The value of having an ECU College of Nursing alumni recognized at this level is an honor and distinction for our college.”

Whether at the bedside helping nursing peers to untangle complex health concerns or walking the halls of state and national governments to advocate for nurses and their patients, Moss said the support of mentors, and her family, has been critical for her successes.

“Many inspired me to push forward when I feel things need to change,” Moss said. “I am also lucky to have a supportive husband who didn’t mind moving across multiple states when I was offered a dream job as a CNS in cardiac surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.”