Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences

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What is forensic nursing?



At any point where the delivery of patient care and the medico-legal system intersect, forensic nurses have an integral area of practice. Historically, a gap has existed between the office of the medical examiner, the police department, and the hospital emergency room or hospitalized patient. Forensic nursing can bridge that gap. Forensic professionals help avoid the mishandling or omission of forensic evidence and perform critical functions in the recognition and correct collection of forensic evidence in all cases of violence, especially complex criminal cases.

Is there a need for forensic healthcare professionals?

According to the World Health Organization, each year nearly 2 million lives are lost around the world because of violence. Often, healthcare providers are the first to come into contact with a person who is a victim of violence, trauma, or injury.

Comprehensive forensic healthcare education offers professionals the tools and knowledge to make a difference in their practice, promote collaborative community responses to violence, and design strategies for violence prevention.

What programs does UCCS offer for Forensic Nursing education?

  • Forensic Nursing Certificate
    The Forensic Nursing Certificate focuses on meeting the needs of victims of violent crime. The program applies clinical and scientific knowledge to the delivery of care for survivors of traumatic injury, victims of violence or death investigations. UCCS offers two options for this certificate program:
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
    As a non-academic credit option, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a professional registered nurse who has received specialized forensic education in order to provide comprehensive care to adult, adolescent and child victims of sexual assault. A SANE demonstrates clinical competence in the collection of forensic evidence from both victims of violence as well as perpetrators and has the ability to provide expert testimony in a court of law. SANEs work collaboratively with law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and community agencies.
  • Advanced Forensic Nurse Examiner (AFNE)
    The Advanced Forensic Nurse Examiner (AFNE) course expands on the education and experience of practicing SANEs. The course covers additional healthcare issues that involve a forensic exam, including intimate partner/domestic violence, strangulation, child maltreatment, elder abuse, and human trafficking. AFNE is typically offered once a year in the Fall Semester at UCCS.

For more information, contact a Beth-El Extended Studies Staff member at bees@uccs.edu or Contact Us.

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University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Last Updated: December 14, 2015