Forensic nursing has been defined as
“the application of the forensic aspects of health care combined with the biopsychosocial education of the registered nurse in the scientific investigation and treatment of trauma, and or death of victims and perpetrators of violence, criminal activity, and traumatic accidents within the clinical or community institution” (Lynch, 1991).
Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as
“the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation” (Krug et al., 2002). Violence is intended to encompass all acts of violence, trauma, crime, or disaster.
The Canadian Forensic Nurses Association was formally organized in September 2006 when a group of forensic nurses from across Canada held a meeting in Vancouver, BC, when attending the International Association of Forensic Nurses Scientific Assembly. CFNA originated out of a desire by various groups of Canadian forensic nurses to network and address uniquely Canadian forensic nursing issues. Informal networks of forensic nurses began to appear in Canada in approximately the year 2000. (Photo left features: Norma Freeman (CNA), and CFNA founders Sheila Early, Cathy Carter Snell, Sheila MacDonald)
Relationship with the Canadian Nurses Association
We are a member of the Associate, Affiliate and Emerging (AAE) interest groups of the Canadian Nurses’ Association (CNA) as of July 2007. Part of these requirements include that at least half of our members are members of CNA, that we have representation of at least four provinces. We provide CNA with feedback on issues of interest to CFNA (e.g. violence, violence prevention) and they provide us access to other AAE groups and resources for communication. We continue to explore options for forensic nursing certification with CNA as part of our strategic planning.
The mission of the CFNA is to promote evidence-based comprehensive health care across the spectrum of forensic nursing with an aim to prevent violence or reduce its consequences on the individual.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of CFNA is to promote comprehensive evidence based forensic nursing practice.
CFNA will meet this goal through the following objectives:
- Facilitating networking opportunities for urban and rural Canadian forensic nurses;
- Communicating educational opportunities and information;
- Sharing research opportunities and findings; and
- Liaising with other international forensic organizations.
CFNA is based on the following beliefs:
- Violence is a health care issue;
- Violence is preventable;
- Nurses have a vital role in reducing the negative consequences of violence;
- All victims and perpetrators of violence have a right to comprehensive health care;
- Comprehensive forensic nursing requires evidence based practices; and
- Interprofessional collaboration with the focus on the client’s best interests at the core.
The bylaws for CFNA were updated and accepted by the membership and executive on September 8, 2010. The bylaw document also includes a history of the CFNA, our philosophy and guiding principles.
After much consultation with members, the Executive developed and approved the strategic plan (1 – 5 years) for CFNA in December 2010. The plan focuses on six areas including: Communication, Education, Membership, Research, Social Action, and Certification. There is work underway to update the Strategic Plan in 2013.
The CFNA executive is proud to highlight their work in achieving a successful collaboration with the International Association of Forensic Nurses. In July 2012 the CFNA signed a reciprocal agreement with IAFN serving to recognize the benefit and need for collaboration between our organizations. With this agreement in place we are better positioned to partner on collectively promoting forensic nursing standards and the field of forensic nursing science to governments, industry, and the public.