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Forensic Nurse Specialist CE Course Program

forensic nursing The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc., offers a full Continuing Education program of online courses for those Registered Nurses seeking Certification as a Forensic Nurse Specialist.

Upon completion of the five (5) forensic nursing courses detailed below, applicants are eligible to apply for and receive certification as a Certified Forensic Nurse Specialist. Each course is provided for in a dedicated online classroom. The courses are designed as independent study/continuing education courses, with one-to-one faculty mentoring. There is open enrollment and students may register and begin the education program at any time.

To review the Certification Program in Forensic Nursing: Access here.





Below are listed the required forensic nursing courses for this curriculum. At the end of each course description you will find the course cost listed. All textbooks and learning materials are separate and not included in the course cost.  

The following CE courses have provider approvals:
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc. is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Florida State Board of Nursing and the District of Columbia Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc., is a licensed Continuing Education Provider in the State of California, Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15595. For additional information please access here.
The following CE Courses also have Nursing Board Rule Provider Approvals:
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Arkansas Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Georgia Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the South Carolina Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Professional Registered Nurses. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Kentucky Board of Nursing CE Provider # 50-11975.


FN 500 – Forensic Nursing: Theory & Practice I

This is the first course in the Forensic Nursing Practice Specialist Certification Program. This course introduces the student to the history and the emergence of the practice specialty of Forensic Nursing. The emergence and growth of the role is carefully examined and past and future issues related to the specialty practice are highlighted. The various roles of the forensic nurse are examined as models for practice and opportunities for niche practice roles for registered nurses seeking this specialty practice certification. The course discusses issues related to evidence identification and collection. Focus is then given to the topics of violence and its forms and the epidemiology of violence in our society. Students will study vulnerable populations to violence, interpersonal violence, leading causes of death by violence and the National Violent Death Reporting System. This course also provides for an in-depth study of the ethical issues in practice that are most relevant to the practice of Forensic Nursing. Concepts of ethical discourse and ethical tensions for practicing forensic nurses are examined. Students will study concepts of culture and transcultural nursing and how they related to the practice of professional Forensic Nursing. Students will also be provided with an in-depth study of sexual abuse including an in-depth examination of the sexual offender, including theories related to the socialization and mental health of such offenders. Interventions for working with victims and offenders related to sexual abuse and violence are studied. This course utilizes an authoritative textbook as well as video lectures and presentations. Prerequisite to enter this course: Must be a Registered Nurse.   Course Code: FN 500. Contact hours of education = 50. Course Cost: $ 200.00.


FN 520 – Forensic Nursing: Theory & Practice II

This is the second continuing education course in the Forensic Nursing Specialist Certification program curriculum focused on Theory and Practice. It presents students with key and important content related to the role of the forensic nurse in key areas such as; intimate partner violence, elder abuse, traumatic exposure of youth, posttraumatic stress disorder, the death investigation, and the collection and documentation of evidence from crime scenes and during death investigations. In each area of study theories are presented as well as content that is applicable to the Registered Nurse studying forensics. Students will learn key forensic concepts and then study these concepts as there are modeled into the role of the Forensic Nurse Specialist practicing today. Each practice area as defined above will detail the role of the Forensic Nurse and the important science and forensic nursing interventions required for safe and high-quality practice of this nursing specialty. The content presented is heavily referenced and provides the student with a vast number of resources for continued self-exploration on the topics. Students will come away at the successful completion of this course with a clear conceptualization of the role of the practicing Forensic Nurse Specialist today. It prepares students for the continued study of core concepts of forensic practice applications that are presented in the subsequent courses in the program. The prerequisite to enroll in this course is that one be a Registered Nurse and has successfully completed the course FN 500: Forensic Nursing: Theory & Practice I (see that course above). This course utilizes an authoritative textbook as well as video lectures and presentations. Contact hours of education = 50. Course Code: FN 520. Course Cost: $ 200.00


FN 540 – Forensic Nursing: Theory & Practice III

This is the third CE course in the Forensic Nursing Specialist Certification Program curriculum focused on Theory and Practice.  This comprehensive course continues with the study and investigation of crime scene evidence specifically related to biological evidence where students study process and procedures for the collection and transfer of evidence, including that involving cases of sexual assault. The course provides for study related to DNA testing and analysis used today in forensic science and in identification matching. Students will examine DNA analysis case studies as well. This course also covers the important topics of computer and internet related crimes, including crimes of fraud as well as sexual solicitation and child pornography. Issues related to cyberbullying are also examined. Students will also study contemporary issues in forensics such as computer related health care fraud, the trafficking of human organs and will go on to examine human trafficking and the role of the health care system in confronting these crimes. This course then provides more comprehensive study related to crimes of sexual assault including the forensic examination and collection of evidence and specimens from both victims and suspected perpetrators. Students will then examine and study topic for forensic nursing practice including correctional nursing practice, the American Justice system, as well as the role of the Forensic Nurse in court cases and as an Expert Witness within the justice system. This includes the study of criminal procedures, case preparations and a review of the standards for expert witness testimony. The pre-requisite to enroll into this course is that one be a Registered Nurse and has successfully completed FN 500 and FN 520 (as above). This course utilizes an authoritative textbook as well as video lectures and presentations.

Course Code: FN 540. Contact hours of education = 50. Course Cost: $ 200.00.


FN 560 – Forensic Nursing: Applications

This forensic nursing CE course, the fourth course in the Forensic Nursing Specialist Certification program focuses on issues related to other applications in clinical practice. Students will study a diverse curriculum of topics which includes disaster management and issues of terrorism. The role of the forensic nurse is highlighted in these situations. A detailed study occurs in emergency management systems including the emergency management cycle, hazard vulnerability analysis and incident command systems. Students study key issues and applications around contemporary issues of disasters, terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction, as well as biological weapons. The course content provides an in-depth study of public policy, how it is created and implemented and strategies that are used to influence the development of policy and legislation. Key issues related to policy development for forensic nursing are examined. Students also study key concepts and issues related to the media and how to work more effectively with the media in forensic cases. An examination of the education process and paths that may be taken in the pursuit of education and certifications in forensic nursing are examined.  Students will also examine some key issues related to the practice of forensics and forensic nursing, such as search and seizure of evidence. There is also content presented on the use of photography in forensic nursing, the use of digital photography and understanding key concepts related to the admissions of photographs in the courtroom.. The prerequisite to enroll into this course is that one be a Registered Nurse and has successfully completed FN 500, FN 520 and FN 540 (as above). This course utilizes an authoritative textbook as well as video lectures and presentations.  Course Code: FN 560. Contact hours of education = 30. Course Cost: $ 150.00.


FN 585 – Forensic Nursing Practice And Sexual Assault

This course will be a broad overview of the role of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. While this course is not a full sexual assault program, it will give insight into the role SANE’s play in the unique care of patient’s wo have suffered a sexual assault. We will look at the history of SANE nursing and the evolution of this role. We will touch on the Medical Forensic Exam (MFE), documentation, identification of injuries, treatment of injuries as well as addressing sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

The Sexual Assault Response Team is instrumental in the care of these patients. We will learn about the roles, responsibilities and how they help care for these patients. Knowing that not every community has the same resources, the SANE is sometimes responsible for several roles. The effects of trauma on the brain and mental health will also be addressed.

We will also look at areas that are often intertwined in sexual assault including drug facilitated sexual assault, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, elder abuse and sexual homicide. We will touch on some of the difference that may be seen as well as the differences in the MFE.

Finally, we will touch on how we can measure outcomes of the SANE and SART as well as sustainability of programs. Course Code: FN 585. Contact hours of education = 50. Course Cost: $ 200.00.


Additional Links

What is Certification?

“A certification is a third-party attestation of an individual’s level of knowledge or proficiency in a certain industry or profession. They are granted by authorities in the field, such as professional societies and universities, or by private certificate-granting agencies. Most certifications are time-limited; some expire after a period of time (e.g., the lifetime of a product that required certification for use), while others can be renewed indefinitely as long as certain requirements are met. Renewal usually requires ongoing education to remain up-to-date on advancements in the field, evidenced by earning the specified number of continuing education credits (CECs), or continuing education units (CE’s), from approved professional development courses. “ 1

Certification is an official recognition from a “Professional Organization” that one has met all of the established standards as determined by that professional organization to be conferred the specific “certification” by that professional organization.  Certifications are most frequently established and conferred by “professional organizations.” Certification is thus a validation that a professional has thus achieved a high standard of knowledge, learning and skills in a specific specialty area of practice. It attests to an achievement in professional practice that is beyond that achieved for licensure. It is also specialty practice specific, rather than generic in nature.

Certification is distinctly different from ‘licensing.” Licensure is conferred /granted by the Government. In most all cases, licensure is the responsibility of the State Government. Every state has its own government agencies that oversee and confer licensure to professionals, i.e. the state boards of nursing.  Licensure is established by “laws” and then specific rules and regulations which conform to the tenets of the state’s laws. Licensure is granted and over-seen by state agencies. Certification, on the other hand, is NOT licensure and is not established by any “laws.”  Licensing agencies generally do not “oversee” professional certifications, unless their specific laws mandate a certain professional certification, in order to practice. An example of this would be: for a registered nurse to receive and be conferred a license as a “Nurse Practitioner” most states require that the RN also have Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.  So, in order to be licensed as a nurse practitioner, the nurse must hold certification from one of those two professional organizations. The State Board of Nursing does not oversee the certification, but rather requires it for nurse practitioner license.

Why Achieve a Certification?

“Professional certification shows consumers and potential employers that you are committed to your profession and are well-trained. It gives them confidence in your abilities and knowledge. Certification makes you more valuable to employers, so you can expect to earn more than someone without certification. Certification also offers advancement opportunities.” 2  Other compelling reasons to consider a specialty practice certification include: Acquire advanced knowledge and skills in a sub-specialty health care practice: 1) Achieve national recognition for attainment of knowledge and skills by meeting established standards of professional advanced practice, 2). Enhance and expand your health care practice, 3). Increase your marketability, 4). Be viewed as a credentialed expert in your practice specialty, and 5). Become part of a professional group and network of recognized and certified health care specialists.

Report findings published on revealed the following regarding Nurses that held certifications: 1). Certified nurses make more money, 2). Certified nurses have respect and recognition, 3). Certified nurses have validated competence in their specialty area, 4). Certified nurses are more marketable and hireable, 5). Certified nurses perceive they have more power in their organizations, 6). Certified nurses have more professional opportunities, 7). Certified nurses have standing among their professional peers, and 8). Certified nurses are more confident. 3

While these study finds were specific to the nursing profession, we believe such benefits are applicable to all health care professionals who hold practice specialty certifications, especially related to recognition, opportunities in employment and validated competency in their practices.

Ongoing Learning

A major hallmark of quality Certification programs is the mandate that Certified Members commit to continued learning in order to maintain their certifications. This is most generally achieved by requiring a recertification process in which certified member’s document continued learning in their practice specialty by way of continuing education. Certifying bodies will establish quality standards for the requirements for its certified members to achieve contact hours of continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification status by the organization or association. 1, 2

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals upholds this high quality standard for recertification of its members by an established program of recertification via mandatory continuing education as well as clinical practice hours over a four-year time frame.  Certified members may recertify their status upon meeting the standards established for recertification of their practice specialties.

The AIHCP CE Model for Certification

The Model for Certification at the American Institute of Health Care Professionals is one based on a core curriculum of focused Continuing Education (CE) Courses. We feel strongly that the conferral of a professional certification requires the attainment of current knowledge and skills in a specialty practice and those who achieve certification should all have the same educational achievements and knowledge/skill base. We insure this by modeling our Certification programs on student’s achievements in a strong curriculum of continuing education in order to achieve our professional Certifications.

Why is continuing education important as a foundation of our model? There are several reasons why continuing education is important for health care professionals. First, it helps them keep up with the latest advances in their field. Second, it helps them maintain their skills and knowledge. Third, it helps them stay current with changes in the healthcare industry. Fourth, it helps them meet their licensure requirements. Finally, it helps them improve their patient care skills. With the rapid pace of change in the medical world, it is essential for health care professionals to keep abreast of new developments in order to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Another reason that we proposed continuing education courses as the foundation of our Certification model is that the benefits of continuing education courses are numerous. For one, they can keep you abreast of the latest developments in your field, which can be beneficial both professionally and personally. Additionally, they can help you network with other professionals in your field, which can lead to new opportunities. Finally, continuing education courses can simply be enjoyable and enriching, providing student candidates with a chance to learn new things and explore different topics.

Our model consists of several types of continuing education courses. Many of our CE courses are self-directed and self-paced with faculty-mentoring as required by the student candidates. Students utilize text books for the course and very often supplemental learning materials such as course handouts, articles and videos. Other types of courses we have include online video on demand lectures courses that provide for printable copies of the slides used in the videos.

All of our CE courses have examinations that must be successfully completed in order for students to receive credit for the courses and also receive a CE Course Certificate. Most all of the examinations on taken right online with a computerized system and are objective-type questions such as multiple choice and true/false questions. Students take the examination online and once completed receive immediate feedback of their examination score and the questions they may have missed including what the correct responses are to missed questions. Students must complete a comprehensive online course evaluation in order to receive their CE Course Certificate. Students may communicate with their course instructors regarding any questions they have about the examination both pre and post-test taking.

All of our CE Courses are approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. We are an accredited provider of continuing education for the California Board of Registered Nursing. For many of our CE Courses we also have Board of Nursing Approval by the Florida Board of Nursing and the DC Board of Nursing. As well we are a Rule Approved Provider for CE by the following Boards of Nursing: Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and New Mexico. The AIHCP is also an Approved Provider for Continuing Education by the South Carolina Professional Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists licensing board.

Upon successful completion of our CE Courses, our student candidates receive a full-sized Course CE Certificate with the full name of the course, date of completion, number of earned contact hours as well as all Board and Organizational approvals for the course. As our student candidates are generally health care professionals they have the added benefit of being able to use their earned CE Course contact hours for their State re-licensing CE requirements and many can use them for their CE requirements for recertification in other professionals organizations.

Our foundational model of CE for Certification is also based on the importance to stay current in the health care field as changes in technology and treatments occur rapidly. As a health care professional, you need to be able to provide the best possible care for your patients. Staying current also allows you to keep up with the latest guidelines and standards of care. Additionally, new research is constantly emerging that can impact patient care.

In conclusion, our foundational model of continuing education courses for certification for health care professionals is important in order to keep up with the latest advancements in health care. They also help to refresh and update the skills of those who have been working in the field for many years. All of our courses can be taken online and are self-paced for the student candidate’s easy of self-paced learning and many employers offer financial assistance to employees who enter our programs.


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