Forensic nursing may be a relatively young field in Canada but it has become one of the fastest growing disciplines of nursing. Forensic nurses bridge the gap between law and medicine by providing compassionate care to victims of violence and abuse while gathering evidence to support law enforcement. As an early leader in shaping forensic nursing education in Canada, BCIT is committed to providing training and expertise that ensures strict forensic standards are met for quality patient care.
In its latest effort to foster high standards of training within the field of forensic nursing, BCIT Forensic Health Sciences has received accreditation from the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) for two courses as having met the training content of the IAFN Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) Education Guidelines. This accreditation recognizes BCIT as Canada’s only IAFN-approved provider of SANE.
“This official recognition by the IAFN, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Centers Commission on accreditation is a huge achievement and ensures learners that the courses –Forensic Nurse Examiner Core Education – Adult and Pediatric Sexual Violence Examiner – meet eligibility requirements for attendees to sit for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent(SANE-A) and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric (SANE-P) board certification exams. Nurses who complete this education will obtain standardized, evidence-based practice to make sure they achieve quality outcomes for patients,” said Colin Harris, Program Coordinator for BCIT Forensic Health Sciences and board-certified Advanced Forensic Nurse.
The BCIT Forensic Nursing program started as Canada’s first classroom-delivered specialty certificate program in forensic health sciences in 2006 and as the need for advanced education in this field increased, forensic health sciences kept pace with demand and in 2017 created Canada’s first and only Graduate Certificate in Forensic Health Sciences.
“The importance of accredited forensic nursing educational training speaks volumes for expertise and ensures that strict forensic standards are met. Being accredited is important when you are looking at credibility and a trained forensic nurse examiner – especially when providing evidence of education and training to the court as an expert witness. Having accredited courses in BCIT’s Forensic Health Sciences program means that we have attained a level that meets or exceeds standards that were developed by experts in the forensic nursing field,” explained Aimee Falkenberg, BCIT Lead Instructor, Forensic Nurse Examiner, Clinical Coordinator for the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Forensic Nursing program, and Clinical Consultant for North Island Forensic Nursing teams. “This knowledge, high level training, and expertise can also help forensic nurse examiners sit on further high-level board examinations in this field. This is an honour I hold closely as the lead instructor of the forensic nurse examiner course at BCIT and, at the end of the day, the education and highest of standards are for the survivors that are seeking forensic nursing care after their worst day.”
Tara Wilkie, Forensic Nurse Examiner, SANE-A and Co-Coordinator of Forensic Nursing Services in Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department added, “Having Forensic Nurse Examiner Education meet the International Association of Forensic Nurses Educational Guideline is an achievement that will substantiate the necessary advancement of forensic nursing in Canada. In addition, this approval will provide the opportunity for Forensic Nurse Examiners to expand their expertise and knowledge as they work to achieve International Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification for adults, adolescent and pediatric populations. BCIT has once again set the bar high in becoming the first Institution in Canada to receive this approval, which is a testament to the outstanding commitment to their students extending beyond the classroom, but also in their continued efforts to address violence.”
All BC registered nurses interested in gaining employment in the role of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) are required to take the BCIT Forensic Nurse Examiner Education courses.
(Photo credit for featured image: Island Health)