During November 6 – 10, 2017, BCIT celebrates Forensic Nurses Week. During this week we recognize the nurses who provide specialized care to men, women, and children who have been affected by violence and abuse.
Forensic nurses help meet the physical, emotional, and legal needs of victims as well as perpetrators of violence and trauma. Critically, they also ensure that forensic evidence is properly collected and will offer to testify in court. These nurses understand the interlinking roles of forensic science, law enforcement, and the justice system with the healthcare system.
During Forensic Nurses Week, forensic nurses will display and wear lilac, the official color of forensic nursing. They will also act to educate colleagues and legislators and generate public awareness about the health impact of violence and the vital role of the forensic nurse.
No one appreciates the ongoing importance of forensic nursing like BCIT Forensic Health Sciences Option Coordinator Sheila Early. A pioneer in forensic nursing, Sheila is a Registered and Forensic Nurse who recognized the need to better support victims and perpetrators of violence, developing the first forensic nursing course in 1993. She was also the first nurse examiner to work a case in BC. (Read more about Sheila’s impact on the field of forensic nursing.)
Sheila’s innovation and dedication to her field was recognized by the Canadian Forensic Nurses Association at the International Association of Forensic Nurse’s Conference on Forensic Nursing Science and Practice in Toronto last month. Sheila was honored with the Association’s Visionary Award.
“Receiving this first Visionary Award is such an incredible honour,” says Sheila. “It recognizes the changes over the last 25 years in how health care responds to its forensic patient populations. I am grateful to the BCIT Forensic Sciences and Technology program for being the leader in Forensic Nursing education in Canada.”
Sheila continues to advocate for her profession, speaking at the Healthy Families: Pathways to Resilience conference November 2-3, and contributing a chapter to The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences. The book won 2017 The Walter Owen Book Prize, from the Foundation for Legal Research/Canadian Bar Association. Well-received by both Canada’s forensic and legal communities, the prize jury declared it “the seminal introductory treatment of the principal forensic sciences; invaluably serving those committed to life in the law”.