FNS Section News—FNSC Proposed Standards and More

Source: Joyce P. Williams, DNP, FNS Section Chair

The first two Forensic Nursing Service Council (FNSC) -proposed standards by the Forensic Nursing Subcommittee of Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) are available for public comment until 11:59 p.m. ET July 3, 2023:

  • OSAC 2023-N-0013 Standard for Evidence Collection and Management for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations for Adults and Adolescents
  • OSAC 2023-N-0015 Standard for the Education of Forensic Nurses who Conduct Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations for Adult and Adolescent Patients

All standards of practice provide a guide to the knowledge, skills, judgment, and attitudes needed to practice safely. Professional forensic nursing standards ensure that quality nursing care is promoted and requires critical thinking in addition to the application of scientific knowledge to improve health. Critical thinking depends on the use of standards that reflect scientifically based and practice-based criteria for making clinical judgments.

To ensure proposed forensic nursing standards are comprehensive, feasible, and accurately reflect forensic nursing practice, input from the forensic nursing community is essential. After proposed standards are posted on the OSAC website, the public has 30 days to make comments (see the link below) After the FNSC makes revisions based on public comments, proposed standards are sent to a Standards Development Organization (SDO) for adoption. The SDO may make changes to the document before publishing the standards.

Having valid and reliable forensic nursing standards will improve consistency and strengthen practice from the clinic to the courtroom. However, standards are only beneficial if they are used. We are reaching out to forensic nursing organizations and communities to raise awareness of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) OSAC FNSC. We invite you to be part of the process by reviewing proposed standards, adopting published standards, and disseminating adopted standards to your members and colleagues.

OSAC Proposed Standards: Standards Bulletin

The OSAC Registry approval process for OSAC Proposed Standards is used to review OSAC-drafted standards for technical quality and placement on the Registry. Download the Standards Bulletin or click HERE to view the Proposed Standards being considered for submission to an SDO. The final draft provided to the SDO will be available on the OSAC Registry as an "OSAC Proposed Standard."

OSAC welcomes comments on whether the current drafts are suitable for release to the SDO as well as suggestions for improvements in content and wording. To be considered, comments must be placed in the OSAC Comment Form and sent to comments@nist.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 3, 2023 (download PDF). The comment form can be found in the PDF. For more information, reach out to the NIST OSAC FNSC Chair, Joyce Williams, at joycewilliamsdnp@gmail.com.

When a complaint is registered against a nurse, there are several potential outcomes. If a nurse receives criminal charges, they must report them to their board. This also applies if the nurse is convicted of a crime. In some states, they must report it immediately, while in another state, it may not be until renewal. So, it is important for us to know what the criminal reporting requirements are in our state.

Nursing board investigations frequently drag on for months or even years. The average time taken to resolve a complaint can be left open for more than a year. As a result, complaints against a nurse are sometimes caught in a general email inbox, where they sometimes sit for weeks or months before being forwarded to staff for investigation. Are nurses allowed to keep practicing despite allegations of serious misconduct? Failure to act expediently jeopardizes the health of patients when a board fails to act on earlier complaints.

Below are two articles of interest related to disciplinary complaints:


The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.