Penn State to offer nursing forensics certificate online

Working nurses will be able to acquire knowledge and skills for this growing nursing career conveniently online through Penn State’s World Campus

Violence by intimate partners is a major public health problem in the United States. One in four women and one in seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When victims arrive in the emergency room, it is crucial to have a forensic nurse available to collect and preserve evidence that may be needed for a legal case. Penn State’s new Nursing Forensics Certificate, delivered online through the World Campus, is designed to enable registered nurses to conveniently prepare for this growing nursing specialty.

“While providing medical care to a patient, a forensic nurse can identify injuries, collect evidence, evaluate and document traumatic events to assist the legal system,” said Madeline Mattern, coordinator of Outreach Programs for Penn State’s School of Nursing. “Forensic nurses bridge the gap between the health care and criminal justice systems.”

Recognized as a nursing specialty by the American Nurses Association in 1992, forensic nursing has grown to include roles as medical examiner nurse investigator, forensic clinical nurse specialist, correctional facility nurse, emergency room forensic nurse, nurse coroner, assault or abuse nurse examiner, and legal nurse consultant.

The Penn State School of Nursing’s 12-credit undergraduate certificate program emphasizes foundational knowledge, including evidence collection and preservation; forensic documentation; the recognition of domestic violence, assault and stalking; and legal and ethical issues. Six of the 12 credits can be applied toward Penn State’s RN to B.S. in nursing degree.

Maureen C. Jones has been teaching the Penn State School of Nursing’s Introduction to Forensic Nursing course for 10 years. “I’m very excited to be teaching in this new program,” said Jones, pediatric course coordinator and forensic nursing instructor. “Nurses will have a chance to get their feet wet by going in the field to learn more about this nursing specialty.”

Jones added, “Nurses are particularly adept at getting a holistic view of patients, including a patient’s home environment, family situation, medications and other vital information. With this certificate, nurses can look at all of these issues through a forensic lens.”

For information, visit the Nursing Forensics Certificate website.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 90 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated April 08, 2013