Expert Bio: Diana Forst, BA, RN

Palm City, FL
Florida Board of Nursing
Board Member & Vice Chair

It is so important that the individual who becomes a nurse has a passion and commitment to the job.

As a working RN, Diana Forst has a passion for delivering quality healthcare in the state of Florida. This lead her to seek a volunteer position on the Florida Board of Nursing, where she currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Board's Education Committee. In her full-time job, as well as her volunteer positions, Forst uses her skills and expertise to improve conditions for nurses and patients. Read on to learn more about how she got started, why the Florida Board of Nursing is important for nurses, and what advice she'd give to nursing students.

Please state your full name, location, organization, and position title.

I am Diana Forst from Palm City, Florida. I am a Board Member of the Florida Board of Nursing (FBON) (appointed by the Governor for a four year term) and currently the Vice Chair of the Board (elected by the Board members) and Chair of the Board’s Education Committee. I also work a full-time schedule as a registered nurse at our community hospital.

What is your career background? How did you end up in your position?

Prior to becoming a registered nurse, I was educated and employed in the science field. I studied and received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and minor in Chemistry, and then spent five years working at the Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center. Oncology nurses that I encountered in that job inspired me to do a career change for which to this date I am very happy I did. Since graduating from nursing school about twenty-three years ago, I have had the opportunity to work in many areas of skilled nursing within the hospital setting and outpatient. To this day, I continue to work in the acute areas of oncology, critical care, medical surgical, and the emergency room. Many responsibilities, skills and competencies are required to work in a variety of nursing settings. To that end, I have maintained different board certifications. I very much enjoy my job as a nurse and I diligently work to deliver good nursing care and be an effective team player. I became interested in the work that the FBON does and I am very grateful that I was appointed in June 2014 to be a Board Member, a volunteer job for which I effectively use my nursing knowledge and experience. I am also involved with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and have served on a committee that deals with the national nurse licensing exam.

Tell us about the Florida Board of Nursing and how they help nurses.

The FBON helps nurses by the very nature of the work they do. The FBON achieves its mission of protecting the public’s health and welfare by making sure that safe and competent nursing care is provided by licensed nurses. This is achieved by the standards for safe nursing care and issuing the license to practice nursing. The FBON job continues by monitoring licensees’ compliance. The FBON is a regulatory board which also oversees compliance for nursing schools.  The FBON “licenses, monitors, disciplines, educates and when appropriate, rehabilitates its licensees to assure their fitness and competence in providing health care services for the people of Florida. The sole legislative purpose in enacting the Nurse Practice Act is to ensure that every nurse practicing in Florida meets minimum requirements for safe practice. It is a legislative intent that nurses who fall below minimum competency or who otherwise present a danger to the public shall be prohibited from practicing in the State of Florida.”

What kind of tasks do you perform day-to-day?

The tasks that a Florida Board Member performs from day to day are not the same as the staff that works for the Board of Nursing. The Board Members meet every other month for meetings and state hearings and they are also assigned to a committee or panels that meet at different times of the year. Prior to each meeting, Board Members receive material related to items to be dealt with the Board’s two committees and the Board meeting as a whole. It is everyone’s responsibility to be prepared and attend all meetings of the Board.

There is no other profession that has the opportunity to make a strong difference on the lives of people with health issues and to make a difference in the improvement of the healthcare industry.

What are some issues or topics facing nurses today that need to be addressed?

Some of the issues or topics facing nurses today that are being addressed and discussed in the nursing field and the workforce include staff shortages, long working hours, workplace hazards and violence, meeting patient expectations, appropriate salary compensation, discrimination, nursing portability and motility and so many other issues in ethics in the work environment like communication challenges in nursing report and workplace bullying.

In your opinion, what makes a good nurse?

In my opinion, the question of what makes a good nurse has both an objective and a subjective answer. There is no other profession that has the opportunity to make a strong difference on the lives of people with health issues and to make a difference in the improvement of the healthcare industry. In my concept of a good nurse, the nurse must enjoy and believe in the work that is being provided and performed. Their approach should be nonjudgmental, professional, caring, the nurse should have good communication skills, be receptive to a team approach, be respectful, be responsible, be motivational, not be an enabler, and be willing to put in the time to maintain the nurse’s skills and knowledge.

What can (or should) nursing students do in school to ensure success in the future workforce?

To ensure success in the future workforce, nursing students should always have goals discussed with counselors and revisit these goals yearly. It is important to know your own inner strengths and personal flaws to make improvements early on. There are basic skills and approaches that are applicable to success in general. These skills include caring for yourself, being a team player, preparation, organization, keeping things in perspective, timeliness, acquainting yourself with licensing requirements for the state or states where you want to practice, being mindful of social media and always presenting yourself in a professional manner. I also find it useful to read about trends in the healthcare industry, particularly in the field of nursing. I work in a profession where the demand, both in this country and globally, is constantly greater than the supply. It is the responsibility of entities like the FBON to ensure that, in the push to increase the supply of nurses, we do not sacrifice competency.

Any other advice you have for those interested in nursing as a profession?

For those interested in nursing school, meet with a professional counselor and review the goals and reasons for wanting to obtain a nursing license. It is so important that the individual who becomes a nurse has a passion and commitment to the job. We often put in twelve hours shifts, on our feet, and we often deal with difficult situations and patients. A nurse must be committed to being prepared for these tasks and challenges and ALWAYS keep in mind that you must provide the same level of excellence and compassion to your patients and their family that you would expect to be afforded to you and your family.