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The Leader in Forensic Nursing Research, Outreach & Education

Our team of experts at the Texas A&M School of Nursing serves one of the state's most vulnerable populations. We are translating evidence-based research into practice and supporting sexual assault nurse examiners as they seek state certification and increasing access to trauma-informed care for victims and perpetrators of intentional violence.

tamu-cfn-home-header-bg-01.jpgThe Texas A&M Health Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing offers unsurpassed research and training opportunities by providing forensic nursing education and outreach for nurses, other medical professionals, law enforcement, attorneys, social workers and advocates. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents formally approved the Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing in 2019, establishing the state's first state- and federally funded center. This designation significantly expanded the capabilities and funding for the Texas A&M School of Nursing's initiative to advance forensic nursing education, outreach and research.

What is forensic nursing?

Victims of violence—those who endure sexual assault, intimate partner violence, neglect or any other form of intentional injury—deserve and require patient-centered, trauma-informed care. Forensic nurses are professionally trained to treat these victims as patients, keeping them and all they have endured at the center of that treatment.


The vision of the center is to be a nationally recognized, well-funded and endowed research, education and outreach Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing.

The mission of the center is to improve the health outcomes of those affected by violence and disaster. The center leads the nation in developing and implementing interdisciplinary, trauma-informed strategies to prevent and address violence across the lifespan through research, academic programs, continuing education and outreach.

The goals of the center are to:

  • Educate nurses to provide high-quality, trauma-informed care to those affected by violence;
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to provide a holistic response to the multifaceted aspects of violence in communities;
  • Advance forensic nursing knowledge through research, scholarship, technology and innovation; and
  • Develop forensic nurse leaders with graduate nursing education.

Texas Evidence Collection Protocol

Updated in an unprecedented, joint collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General, this document serves as the standardized guide for health care professionals across the state of Texas.

Full document | Pediatric flowsheet | Adult flowsheet

Texas Evidence Collection ProtocolAdditional Forms & Resources


Providing expert care to sexual assault victims in rural and underserved communities of Texas.

Learn More

The Texas A&M University Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing received federal grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide specialized training in forensic nursing free of charge to approved grantees that:

1. Currently live and work in rural, underserved areas; or
2. Serve patients that live and work in rural, underserved areas.

We are seeking qualified applicants motivated to expand their knowledge, resources and training through this grant funded opportunity. If accepted, grantees will receive a reimbursement* for accommodations and course costs.

Please note the courses that qualify for reimbursement* are as follows:

  • 40 hour Adult/Adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Training
    Meets and exceeds standards for Texas State SANE certification
  • Adult Sexual Assault Simulation
    Gain all 15 pelvic examinations needed for Texas State SANE certification and experience with 4 simulated forensic medical examinations, 2 of which count toward Texas State Certification
  • Mock Testimony Simulation
    Gain all 16 courtroom hours needed for Texas State SANE certification

Grantees will also have access to our Community of Practice, where they can continue to grow in their journey with access to resources designed to support them in achieving their career goals including networking for hospital preceptorship sites and preparation for national certification.

Apply Today

*Reimbursement for course costs and accommodations (including per diem food, hotel, and mileage) not to exceed $5,000.

March 26, 2020


As we continue to grapple with the significant impact COVID-19 is having across the world, we want to offer resources to our forensic nursing family to help answer some of your questions.

We have received numerous inquiries about addressing forensic nursing concerns related to providing care to patients with forensic health care needs. We encourage you to talk with your supervisor, compliance officer and risk manager to determine the best way to proceed when forensic patients present.

Ultimately, it is our role and responsibility as forensic nurses to ensure the safety of our patients, ourselves and others. This starts with ensuring the following to the best of our ability:

  • Implementation of effective screening processes for all patients, visitors and advocates for COVID-19.
  • Limiting visitors. Consideration of the use of telehealth for advocate interaction with patients.
  • Ensuring the use of PPE for patients that screen positive for COVID-19
  • Ensuring the use of PPE for any health care worker or social worker interacting with a patient with a positive COVID-19 screen
  • Consideration of guidelines that exempt health care or social workers that meet the following criteria from caring for a lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient or patient with a positive screen:
    • Pregnant
    • Breastfeeding
    • Immunocompromised
    • Over 60 years of age

Things forensic nursing teams may wish to consider:

  • Should the forensic nurse call-in requirements be modified during the pandem?
    • Consider allowing forensic nurses to be on-call and “triage” patients via telephone and come in for acute examinations only.
    • Consider health histories of forensic nurses (pregnancy, breastfeeding or immunocompromised status).
  • Are there examinations that may be deferred to a later time?
  • Can patients who report non-acute sexual assaults and who are safe, be examined at a later date?
  • Should sexual assault examinations be completed in the emergency department or another area?

Current CDC recommendations are as follows:

  • Utilize stringent hand hygiene practices for everyone, including patients
  • Droplet precautions should be followed. These include:
    • Donning gloves always.
    • Donning gown & surgical mask if potential for droplet contact
    • Masks do not need to be N-95.
    • If patient does not describe having a cough, fever or runny nose – forensic nurse should use stringent hand hygiene practices and don gloves.
    • If patient is coughing, has a fever or recently had a fever, or runny nose – forensic nurse should don a surgical mask with a face shield, gown and gloves.
    • Anal swabbing does not aerosolize sample.
    • Social distancing of at least six feet should occur as much as possible during the history, examination and documentation of all patient encounters. The forensic nurse should continue to utilize patientcentered, trauma-informed practices while explaining the reasons for droplet precautions.
    • Housekeeping – Follow standard droplet protocol for cleaning of examination areas.
CDC Homepage

Below are links to resources you may find useful as we all adapt to our current situation in providing care to forensic patients. It is our hope that your facility and forensic team can use these resources to make informed decisions in supporting this vulnerable population.

American Society For Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: A Clinical Insight Statement With Valuable References And Information

University Of Washington: This Site Provides Copies Of Policies/procedures That May Be Used As A Framework As You Determine How To Best Proceed

Minnesota Department Of Health: This Site Provides Several Checklists That May Be Adapted By Forensic Programs To Assist With Informed Decision Making Processes

Occupational Safety And Health Act (Osha)

John Hopkins

Texas Department Of State Health Services

Google Drive Link With Additional Resources

Thanks and gig 'em,

Chelsea Knutson, MSN, BS, RN, CNE, CA-SANE
Program Manager, Forensic Outreach
College of Nursing, Texas A&M University Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing

Forensic nursing provides specialized care needed across the state and nation. Supporting ongoing research, community outreach programs and expansion of educational opportunities ensures the Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing provides innovative instruction, evidence-based practice and state-of-the-art learning environments for those seeking to provide trauma-informed, patient-centered care.

Save lives through education and outreach. Plan your financial gift.

Patty Rabel, CFRE
Senior Director of Development
Texas A&M College of Nursing

Phone: 979.436.017

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