The Academy of Forensic Nursing is conducting its First Annual Conference, Advancing the Footprint of Forensic Nursing: Informing an Evidence Based Future.  This 2-day virtual conference promotes excellence in Evidence Based Practice (EBP) to both novice and advanced practice forensic nurses which inspire innovative techniques, and research which informs a multi-disciplinary approach to teams working with victims of trauma across the lifespan.  

This virtual conference is open to healthcare providers, forensic nursing and medical professionals, law enforcement, attorneys, court and judiciary staff, and advocates.  Our goal is to provide opportunities for both novice and expert forensic providers, nationally and internationally, to highlight innovative EBP.

Join us for this Inaugural Virtual Conference: June 9 & 10, 2021.  All live sessions will be recorded and available for viewing through July 15, 2021.  Learn and earn continuing education live or at your own pace when it is convenient for you.  Registration is now open!



Flexibility with live and on-demand so that you can watch when it is convenient for you!



Attend the live conference sessions so that you can connect and engage with national experts!



This year we are featuring a variety of topics to Advance the Footprint of Forensic Nursing!




  • Conference Opening: Wednesday, June 9, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM (EST)

  • Day I: Wednesday, June 9, 2021 from 8:30 AM to 17:00 PM (EST)

  • Conference Opening: Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM (EST)

  • Day II: Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 8:30 AM to 16:30 PM (EST)



  • Includes Access to AFN Inaugural Conference Poster Sessions!

  • AFN Members Discounted Price for Two-Day Conference: $99

  • Non-AFN Members for Two-Day Conference: $149


Continuing Education will be awarded based on attendance to Conference Sessions, with total CE per session as indicated on the Conference Program Guide.  Attendees of "LIVE" Conference Sessions will receive their CE Certificate via email by June 25, 2021.  Conference Attendees may select to attend both LIVE and On-Demand Sessions at their discretion and convenience.


This activity has been submitted to Montana Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. Montana Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as an approver of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

For more information regarding contact hours, please email for more information.



No refunds on Conference Registration.  Registrants who are unable to attend may gift his/her purchase to an individual qualifying for the same registration rate. For example, an AFN Member may not gift his/her ticket to a non-member. To make arrangements to gift your purchase to another individual, please contact AFN as soon as possible at:



Male Students' Experiences of Dating Violence: Recognition, Disclosure and Help-Seeking


Risks of experiencing dating violence, including sexual assault, are extremely high for postsecondary students.   As a result, North American institutions are asked to develop policies and supports for students.   Most of the data used to develop these programs, however, are from female students.  There are some indications that men’s experiences of recognition of dating violence, disclosure and help-seeking are quite different.

In the literature, men have described significant barriers seeking help but there is little information about the nature of these barriers.  In this presentation, we will discuss the findings of a recent study of male students’ understanding of dating violence, factors affecting disclosure and help-seeking experiences.  Implications for multidisciplinary professionals working with victims of dating violence and in post-secondary institutions will be discussed.


A Collaborative Interprofessional Approach for Handling Nonfatal Strangulation Cases


Strangulation is a serious crime and one that has been routinely minimized by not only the victim, but law enforcement, the judiciary, and members of the medical profession.  In July 2019, Kentucky became the 48th state to recognize strangulation as a felony offense.  Prior to July 2019, a perpetrator who applied pressure to or around the victim’s neck or covered the victim’s mouth and/or nose thus impeding the victim’s flow of blood or air could only be charged with a misdemeanor assault and even then, only if there were visible signs of physical injury.  As a result of these legislative changes, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and medical professionals are beginning to recognize the need for new approaches to the assessment, investigation, and prosecution of individuals who perpetrate assaults that include acts of strangulation.

The legislative changes in Kentucky prompted the development of a multidisciplinary task force charged with creating a regional nonfatal strangulation protocol and an implementation plan to increase awareness and correct community responses.  This protocol offers a starting point for the collaborative efforts of those individuals who can ensure an appropriate response to the needs of victims of strangulation through a coordinated community approach.

When Sexual Assault Occurs on Hospital Property: A Collaborative, Trauma-Informed Approach


When a crime occurs on hospital property, conflict between internal and external investigations arise. In-hospital investigations are challenging as many departments are involved and some information is protected, even from law enforcement and prosecutors.  The forensic nurse plays an important role in both investigations from ensuring patient safety needs to proper evidence collection and adhering to regulatory measures.

The purpose of this presentation is to explain the in-house investigation process and how applicable laws, rules, and regulation impact information and to whom it may be released.  Through a case study presentation, the various roles will be described. In addition, the role of the forensic nurse in this multi-disciplinary investigation is presented so that patient needs are protected while addressing organizational processes and rapid cycle improvement activities.

The Effects of Interpersonal Violence on Children


Over 5 million American children are estimated to be exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) annually.  The past decade has seen a surge in research, assessment, and related interventions regarding children.  Contemporary practice guidelines continue to expand relative to the wide range of violence that a child might be exposed to; particularly noting that children who have experienced one type of violence, such as physical abuse, are at great risk for also experiencing other forms of violence.

Effects on children exposed to IPV are potentially catastrophic and can be influenced, by not only the number of exposures, but also the protective factors that are available to a child when violence is encountered.  This workshop will provide the audience with information on the most recent treatment that should be individualized and appropriate for the developmental level of the child.  It will also include information on how to assess and identify children exposed to IPV.

Often, these children are the invisible victims until detected by savvy assessment or, unfortunately, because of serious injury or death.  Enhancement of awareness, in and of itself, can potentially lead toward expanded assessment and identification of these children, and subsequently saving their lives. Additionally, the audience will also be provided with information on protective factors for children to decrease the negative impact of children being exposed to IPV.




Moral Distress and PTSD in New Graduates: The Role of Clinical Judgement


As many as 60% of new graduate nurses are leaving within two years of graduation, citing theory-practice gaps, moral distress, and PTSD.  This attrition and level of distress is concerning for the future health of forensic nursing and the availability of new nurses capable of working with trauma populations.  

The theory-practice gap and distress may be related through levels of clinical judgement skills.  Benner describes new graduates as advanced beginners, and further development of pattern recognition and clinical judgement is required especially in the first few months.  There is some literature suggesting Generation X and Z have less well-developed critical thinking skills, a core component of clinical judgement.  The pending change to NCLEX examinations underscores the importance of clinical judgment skills for nurses.  The lack of clinical judgement has been noted by employers and mentorship programs have been developed in an attempt to compensate.

A more upstream approach is needed.  Examples include selecting student applicants through measures of their critical thinking and other clinical judgement capabilities or implementing strategies to better build these skills throughout their nursing program.

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the factors potentially underlying the stress for new graduates and the role of clinical judgement, along with a discussion of current evidence related to stress and resilience and resilience-building strategies.  These findings have implications for selecting nursing applicants, supporting their resilience both during their education and on entry to practice.  The recommendations may also be transferrable to supporting new forensic nurses in their practice.


Addressing Implicit Bias in Healthcare Workers and Families as an Approach to Decrease Suicide in LGBTQ Teens


The National Academy of Medicine (NAOM) has designated Transgender care research as a priority. Discrimination, as it exists in society, communities and in healthcare with gender minorities contributes to the statistical result of 40% lifetime suicide attempt rates for transgender adults and with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) communities at 10-20%.  To spearhead the health and safety of those facing present issues with poverty, homelessness, and physical and sexual violence there needs to be an understanding and cessation of systematic oppression by healthcare workers.

Utilizing a gender affirming care framework and backed by Healthy People 2020 goals, health care providers are in a key position to address and educate and remediate their own professions, concerning the present atrocities of inappropriate care, care refusal and mistreatment that are too commonly experienced by the LGBTQ+ communities.

Evidentiary Blood Draws: Considerations for Emergency Department Personnel


This session will discuss the prevalence of OWI fatalities and OWI related crashes that cause serious bodily injury and provide an overview of the emergency department healthcare provider’s responsibilities when working with a patient who presents for an evidentiary blood draw.  We will evaluate EMTALA’s role when an individual is not seeking medical care, along with a suspect’s rights in these matters, including privacy and confidentiality considerations that may lead to liability concerns.

Nurses will gain a basic understanding of the criminal justice process and the integration of medical forensic evidence and the nurse's role as witnesses in a courtroom. The session will review procedure considerations, quality documentation and establishing policies and procedures that support the patient, your healthcare team, and the hospital.

Beyond Evidence Collection: Show Me the Outcomes!


Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner practice programs have evolved over the last 40 years from focusing on the sub-specialty area of sexual assault and abuse to nurse managed, comprehensive forensic healthcare programs with a trauma informed, patient centric focus.  While much of the emphasis for forensic nurses has been on education, skill set and competent practice, there is a need for business acumen to expand and sustain these nurse-based practice programs within healthcare systems and communities.

This presentation will review strategies and tools that can inform the development and expansion of a forensic healthcare program as well as the importance of a rigorous approach to peer review and quality improvement.

A Comprehensive Forensic Training Academy: A New Medical Forensic Education Model


Interpersonal violence impacts everyone, yet comprehensive healthcare services for victims of violence are limited primarily to “siloed” responses by sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse programs. These responses limit the ability of victims who do not “meet program requirements” from receiving a medical forensic examination (MFE) under the auspices of a standardized program, such as SART.  Limits including time from event, lack of trained SAFE/SANE, lack of services for elders, and inability to recognize victimization in various health care settings, are also challenges which face victims from receiving evaluation, investigation, prosecution, and ultimately, justice.


The Comprehensive Forensic Training Academy is the first training of its kind and is an evidence-based educational collaboration between a statewide Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, state university and a state-based nursing association.


This generalist forensic training was developed within an academic center to train nurses, physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to recognize, respond and provide MFE for victims of violence across the lifespan.  This training utilizes a hybrid educational model incorporating online modules with a three day in-person course totaling approximately 50 hours.  There are increasing numbers of programs that respond to diverse victim populations, however there are no programs specific for generalist training.  This program has the potential to improve response to victims of violence in rural (and urban) communities who may not be able to support (financially or logistically) specialized teams.