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Texas A&M establishes Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing

Texas A&M College of Nursing leads Board of Regents-approved center to facilitate research, education and outreach in forensic nursing

On Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents formally approved and established the Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, transitioning the Texas A&M College of Nursing forensic nursing program into a state- and federally funded center. This designation significantly expands the capabilities and funding resource opportunities in support of the college’s initiative to advance forensic nursing education, outreach and research.

“The Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing will accelerate multidisciplinary efforts to devise and implement comprehensive strategies that address interpersonal violence across the life span,” said Nancy Fahrenwald, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, professor and dean of the college. “We are now in the best position to engage scholars throughout The Texas A&M University System to develop and disseminate new knowledge, positively impacting health and social outcomes for those affected by violence.”

Forensic nursing is a specialty focused on the intersection of health care, criminal justice and legal systems. Forensic nurses are registered nurses (RN) or advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) who specialize in interpersonal violence prevention, intervention, investigation and post-trauma care. Areas of practice in this specialty include sexual assault, death investigation, corrections, disaster aftermath, risk management, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder mistreatment and human trafficking.

The center will allow the expansion of the college’s existing master of science degree and graduate certificate in forensic nursing programs as well as interdisciplinary and professional education course trainings available to health care providers, law enforcement agencies, social workers and others seeking advanced education in treating victims of violence. “Through the center, we will be able to expand opportunities for interdisciplinary education as well as forensic nursing education,” said Stacey Mitchell, DNP, MBA, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN, clinical associate professor and director of the center. “We are excited that we are better able to impact health care for vulnerable populations across Texas and beyond.”

Forensic nurses at the college believe that victims of intentional injury deserve patient-centered, yet trauma-informed care. Having a center dedicated to research, outreach and education provides forensic nurses across the globe with a resource for evidence-based training, keeping victims and all they have endured at the center of their treatment.

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