East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing now offers an online Forensic Nurse Certificate, a graduate certificate designed for nurses who want to expand their training beyond the education acquired as a sexual assault nurse examiner.

Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) are registered nurses who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN).

“ETSU’s Forensic Nurse Certificate program builds on SANE training and prepares nurses for many of the issues that arise when dealing with patients who have experienced human violence,” said Dr. Judy McCook, professor in the College of Nursing and director of the Forensic Nurse Certificate program.

Coursework in the certificate program examines how intentional human violence intersects with health care and the criminal justice system, while integrating forensic science and social services.

Forensic course content will include the neurobiology of trauma, child and elder maltreatment, dating violence, intimate partner violence, strangulation, sexual assault, commercial sexual exploitation, technology facilitated sexual violence, perpetrator behaviors, death investigation and court testimony.

The Forensic Nurse Certificate Program was designed with working professionals in mind, offering the flexibility and convenience of online coursework. It can be completed in two semesters, with two courses in the fall and two in the spring or one course per semester over two years.

To be admitted to the certificate program, students must have a baccalaureate degree and have completed a prerequisite of 41-hours of IAFN SANE-A (Adult/Adolescent) training. Over the past two years, ETSU has provided the SANE-A training at no cost to more than 100 nurses using funding from a Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) grant. Additional grant funds are available to continue SANE-A for qualified nurses from Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia.

“Since January of 2019, we have provided SANE-A training for more than 100 nurses and we have additional funds to help others earn that prerequisite,” McCook said. “Once they complete the initial online SANE-A course, our new Forensics Certificate Program is the perfect next step for those nurses who want detailed knowledge in this specialty.”

Applications are now being accepted for fall 2021. To learn more about admissions requirements and how to apply, visit etsu.edu/online or email McCook at mccook@etsu.edu.

Contributed to the Press

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