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Forensic Nurses Week - Debut Year

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While many people think the solution to violence occurs in police stations and courtrooms, there is a dedicated group of nurses who understand "Violence is a Health Care Problem". During the week of November 9-13, 2009 the International Association of Forensic Nurses will celebrate Forensic Nurses Week. Forensic Nurses are on the front line making sure victims of crime receive compassionate health care, while vital forensic evidence is collected and preserved.

More than 25 years ago a handful of nurses recognized that rape victims often waited hours in emergency departments for care and evidence collection. Now more than 500 communities have specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. "But SANEs are not the only kind of forensic nurse," says Bobbi Jo O'Neal, Deputy County Coroner in Charleston S.C. She sees nurse death investigators playing a critical role as the country faces a shortage of forensic pathologists. Any place where nursing and victims of violence intersect you will find a forensic nurse.

Meeting the increasing need for forensic nurses, more than 25 colleges have created forensic nursing programs. "If you think a forensic nursing program prepares you to work for CSI, you have the wrong idea," says Dr. Kathy Sekula, coordinator of the Forensic Nursing program at Duquesne University. "The forensic nurse must be able to provide nursing care to victims and perpetrators of violence across the lifespan and develop innovative programs to deal with the short and long term health consequences of interpersonal violence."

This year the IAFN celebrates its 17th anniversary of providing forensic education to nurses throughout the United States, Canada and 22 other countries. At their Scientific Assembly last month attendees met to take on the challenge of educating policy makers that primary prevention of violence should be a part of health care reform. "Data shows that up to 37.5 % of health care costs may be the result of violence," says Jennifer Pierce-Weeks, president of IAFN. In a recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice, 60% of the children surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year, either directly or indirectly. Forensic nurses know that this places children at risk for lifelong health care problems. Forensic nurses make a difference by creating programs to both prevent violence and provide early recognition and treatment of the effects of violence.

SOURCE International Association of Forensic Nurses

SOURCE International Association of Forensic Nurses
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