Outline the Process for Developing Nursing Standards of Practice

In order to initiate the process of developing nursing standards of practice, the leaders in specialty areas are recommended to use the six key questions, as stated by Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, and Bickford (2015).

  1. Who? Identify numbers of nurses, professional organization/society, and educational preparation.
  2. What? Explain the unique contributions of generalist and advanced practice registered nurses.
  3. When? Determine when these specialty nurses are needed.
  4. Where? Describe practice environments in sufficient detail to understand specialty practice.
  5. Why? Determine what niche or gap is filled; the historical perspective of the development of the specialty; current issues and future trends in health care that point to the need for the specialty.
  6. How? Identify the process to become this type of nurse specialist, including development through formal education, continuing education, and practice experiences. Address use of the nursing process and the Code of Ethics (ANA, 2015).


     Once the initiation process has begun, then the organization, including the specialty nurse that has developed the new nursing standard, can proceed with the following steps:

Lead Writers

    “A lead writer and specialty nurse, actually takes part in the writing process of the standard, because they have helped initiate the process. The lead writer takes charge of the document to make sure that it is cohesive and in a singular voice.  In addition, “Some nursing specialty organizations intentionally maintain the lead writer who directed the development of earlier editions (e.g., Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, ANA/American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2013), (Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, Bickford, 2015).   The key is to have the continuation of the information from the previous documentation to the new one.  The ANA can be contacted at any time to minimize time-consuming revisions, one recommendation is to contact ANA staff prior to starting the writing process.


Any expert that has contributed to the process has usually been nationally and/or internationally recognized as nurse experts in the specialty.  These experts have been targeted due to “their expertise, published scholarly work, and other significant contributions to the specialty” (Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, Bickford, 2015).

Foundational Documents

Anytime that a new standard of practice is developed or revised it is checked for “successful integration of the content of these resources in the scope and standards entailing reading, reviewing, and repeatedly returning to these primary foundational source documents for guidance” (Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, Bickford, 2015).  Small groups may be created to ensure the documents foundations.

Establishing a Realistic Timeline

     The minimum recommended time would be between 12-18 months from the onset of the project to be accepted by the CNPS.  Timelines can change depending on the amount of people working in the group and the approval of the boards.  There are other factors that may that play into the timeline being met, such as time constraints, the writing process, and logistics. For example, logistically, there are different drafts or documents that are sent to multiple people.  Therefore, it is wise to use programs, such as, DropBox, that enable all members of the group to share and open the same documents.

Revision of Document Based on Feedback

All of the leaders of the workgroups that were created to implement and work on the standards, make revisions based on feed back of their groups and from “recommendations from the ANA Committee on Nursing Practice Standards (CNPS) strengthened their respective documents” (Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, Bickford, 2015).


 Identify the Different Entities That Might Be Involved in Developing a Standard of Practice

As mentioned above, there are multiple entities that are involved in developing a standard of practice.  There is a specialty nurse, that organizes a collaboration meeting physicians and administrators at the facility to discuss the standards and the key elements.  Then there are others, such as the lead writer, the ANA organization, and experts.  In addition, there are “Members of the specialty organization, the larger nursing community, the specialty field, and other stakeholders” (Finnell, Thomas, Nehring, McLoughlin, Bickford, 2015).


Finnell, D., Thomas, E., Nehring, W., McLoughlin, K., Bickford, C. (2015). Best Practices for developing specialty nursing scope and standards of practice. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2), Manuscript 1.doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol20No02Man01