Advanced Forensic Nurse Examiner Online Microcredential: 5 Questions

We connected with Associate Dean Jennifer Talman to learn more about the newest BCIT Forensics microcredential, which aims to help prepare nurses who treat some of society’s most vulnerable patients.

Q: Who is the Advanced Forensic Nurse Examiner (AFNE) microcredential for?

Advanced Forensic Nurse Examiner is meant for Registered Nurses who have taken Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) training, such as BCIT’s Forensic Nurse Examiner microcredential.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term FNE, these are the nurses who do the very important work of caring for survivors of violence, particularly sexual assault. In addition to providing medical care, they collect evidence and may give testimony in court.

The AFNE is designed in particular to support FNEs in remote communities where access to in-house support may be limited. The RNs may be new to the FNE role, having recently completed their training, or be returning to the role after having focussed on other work or having taken time off. For these RNs, the opportunity to practice their hands-on skills in the mock examination workshop would be particularly beneficial.

The AFNE is also appropriate for practicing FNEs who want support preparing for a court appearance or to learn to investigate specific types of assaults.

“This format was chosen to offer an interactive experience that will fit in more easily with an RNs busy work schedule.” – Jennifer Talman, Associate Dean

Q: What led you to build this new microcredential?

It is essential for FNEs to keep their skills current, not just for the important work of caring for survivors of violence, but also to maintain their credibility as an expert witness in court. This microcredential will benefit nurses in smaller communities, who may not have access to ongoing support in their hospitals, or they may see assault patients so infrequently that they need to refresh their skills.

Q: What will students learn in the microcredential?

The courses each involve seven hours of instruction on a specialized topic in forensic nursing. Topics include witness testimony and preparing a CV for court, examination of non-fatal strangulation injuries, examination of mild traumatic brain injuries, medical legal documentation, normal and abnormal findings during a genital examination, and Indigenous cultural awareness and safety. We also offer an in-person mock forensic examination workshop for those students who want hands-on training.

Our instructors are internationally-renowned leaders in this growing field. Many have won awards for their work, and/or have executive positions on national forensic health organizations.

Q: How does a microcredential work?

We currently have seven 0.5 credit courses to choose from. Students earn a badge upon completing each course, and earn the microcredential when they complete six courses. Students can choose any of the six courses that are offered, and they have seven years to complete the full microcredential.

Q: Can students complete this microcredential online?

Absolutely! When designing the microcredential, we felt it was very important for it to be accessible to students who live outside of the Vancouver area.

Six of the courses are fully online; by selecting these courses, students can complete the AFNE online. Of the six online courses, five of them offer the additional flexibility of a hybrid modality. Students can complete four hours of learning at times that are convenient for them, and attend one three-hour livestreamed lecture where they can interact with the instructor and other students. This format was chosen to offer an interactive experience that will fit in more easily with an RNs busy work schedule. The one course that is only offered in person, the hands on Mock Sexual Assault Examination Workshop, is scheduled to take place during a single day to make it easier for students who need to travel to the Vancouver area to participate.

Learn more about Forensic Health Science, or keep in touch with BCIT Forensics by subscribing to The Investigator twice-yearly newsletter.

Photo: Forensic Nurse and BCIT Instructor Tara Wilkie

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