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Canadian Forensic Nurses Association Partners with AFN

The Canadian Forensic Nurses Association has officially partnered with the Academy of Forensic Nursing as of December 1, 2023. This partnership evolved as the result of current CFNA President Aimee Falkenberg. She approached the Academy in the fall of 2023 to inquire about how the Canadian forensic nurses might increase engagement, contribution, and involvement with AFN. In working with Falkenberg on the partnership, it became obvious that sharing and collaboration are the powerful characteristics of the CFNA’s newest leader.

Falkenberg began her professional adventure in 2008 when she was a “new nurse” working in public health. She was on her way to see a patient when she saw an advertisement for a SANE nurse and wondered, “What is that?” and “I wonder if that would fulfill me and help me really make a difference in the lives of people I care for.” Enter then her lifelong relationship with her mentor, Sheila Early, a Canadian forensic nurse leader. Under the coaching of Early, Falkenberg became a forensic nurse in the emergency department in her community. In the first nine months as an FNE, she provided care to 125 patients. The fact that she can quote those statistics, after all the years that have passed, speaks to the value she places on data and detail—key characteristics of a nurse leader of the day!

Falkenberg then advanced to the position of clinical coordinator for the Central and North Vancouver Island Forensic Nurse Examiner Program. She has mentored over 1,000 nurses across Vancouver Island. In addition, she serves as the lead director of the Forensic Nursing Training Course (foundational) and advanced FNE courses as part of the British Columbia Institute of Technology for Forensic Science (BCIT SC 7840 Forensic Science). Falkenberg oversees and coordinates more than 45 education and training programs. As she described the various offerings, some examples included in-person mock interview training, mock examinations, curriculum vitae (resume) development, trial testimony, and strangulation—all as part of the Canadian micro-credentialing program.

My time with Falkenberg was inspiring as I learned of the goals she has for CFNA during her tenure as president (2023–2025), some that have already borne fruit. Her goals include the advancement of the full scope of practice for FNEs in Canada, while also committing to the action of collaboration between and on behalf of the CFNA’s 230 members.

When asked about challenges or barriers she sees, Falkenberg is solution-focused and sees them instead as opportunities. The biggest challenge is the availability of technology that is the key to accessing learning, professional development, and ultimately improving the triad of outcomes for all stakeholders—patient clinical outcomes, quality of services through evidence-based practices, and value-based care. She is already meeting her objectives, and Falkenberg envisions a bright future and tremendous growth opportunities when people co-join CFNA and AFN. “Together we can move mountains and collegial support is the first step,” said Falkenberg. “I am extremely excited to see growth in our Canadian membership and to offer webinars and opportunities to make positive changes together.”

– Written by Dr. Kathleen Thimsen, AFN Treasurer

Benefits of Joining the Canadian Forensic Nurses Association (CFNA)

• Collegial learning and support for forensic nursing – working together to bring expertise and fostering supportive professional partnerships

• Tax deductible membership fees


• Free member education that can be used for yearly nursing continued educational needs


• Post webinar certificate of completion


• Google Classroom for interactive educational content with other members


• Canadian symposium – collaboration with other nurses doing this work and other aspects and principles of Canadian Forensic Nursing


• Reduced fee for all CFNA members to attend the 2024 symposium in Quebec, Canada

• Increased opportunity for engagement and advancement of promoting evidence-based work and improving outcomes for survivors of intentional violence

• Promoting awareness of what is happening in the Canadian judicial system and in the Canadian health care settings

• Joint membership with partnerships


• Student membership is free with CFNA


• Offering a large number of educational opportunities for members that expands past the role of forensic nursing to include death investigation, forensic lab, Canadian judicial system, forensic corrections, coroners, forensic photography and forensic psychiatry


• Opportunity to work on subcommittee working groups including human trafficking, standards of practise and guidelines to promote and respond to survivors of intentional violence

Dual CFNA/AFN Memberships are available to Canadian nurses with a valid Canadian Nursing Licence number. AFN members in the United States may join CFNA as an Associate Member at a special discounted rate of $25 CDN. Click here to find the AFN discount code (member login required).

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