When health care and the law intersect, nurses need to be prepared.
The Forensic Nursing Certificate, a continuing education program at George Brown College, prepares them. The program is the only one of its kind in Canada offered to working nurses.
“There’s a huge area of crossover in health and the law, but, traditionally, there hasn’t been much training for nurses on what to do in these situations — how to respond, how to document,” says Sheila MacDonald, provincial co-ordinator for the Ontario Network Of Sexual Assault/ Domestic Violence Treatment Centres. “I think this program meets an important need. The better nurses understand forensics, the better they can help their patients.”
In fact, nurses in both Canada and beyond can take advantage of the learning offered by this program. In addition to an onsite clinical component, the certificate is made up of four courses that are offered both onsite and online.
“It’s difficult for many nurses to attend continuing education classes in person,” says MacDonald, a registered nurse who helped develop the curriculum for the online courses. “Nurses can take the courses at their own pace and don’t have to take time off work.”
Students learn by completing assignments accessed online, participating in live chats and viewing presentations by experts, including women’s rights advocates and police officers. MacDonald and two other nurses with extensive backgrounds in sexual assault and violence will teach the courses.
The program’s availability online, MacDonald says, means a greater number of nurses, regardless of their location, can get up to speed on this growing area.
“For nurses who want to update their skills and expertise in this area, but have no access to this type of education locally,” says MacDonald, “these online courses are a great thing.”
To find out more about the Forensic Nursing Certificate, visit coned.georgebrown.ca/nursing or call 416-415-5000, ext. 2073.
more about the courses
- Introduction To Forensic Nursing teaches students how to meet the diverse health needs of victims and perpetrators of violence, collect forensic evidence and apply preventative interventions for victims of violence.
- Forensic Issues In Sexual Violence covers forensic legislation, processes and protocols and how they apply when caring for and collecting evidence from sexual assault victims. Providing court testimony is also reviewed.
- Clinical Applications In Forensic Nursing deals with how nurses, as part of an interprofessional team, can recognize, assess and intervene when caring for victims of violence. Participants explore victim behaviours, patterns of injury, forensic photography and violence.
- Forensic Issues In Interpersonal Violence delves into the social and ethical forensic issues that arise when health care overlaps with the law and reviews the related principles and professional practices that come into play.