Forensic Nursing

Image of Forensics Students

The College of Nursing is not accepting new applicants into this concentration at this time. The last admission date was
Fall of 2013.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Forensic Nursing

The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has been preparing nurses for advanced and expert practice for over 100 years. Degree concentrations include the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) which prepares beginning advanced nurse practitioners for a variety of positions, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) which prepares expert clinicians for leadership positions in practice, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) which prepares graduates as research scientists. A DNP with a oncentration in Forensic Nursing is one option.

What is Forensic Nursing?

Forensic nursing is defined as the practice of nursing when health and legal systems intersect. The practice of the forensic nurse includes care for individual patients, families, communities, and systems and may occur in emergency settings, in response to, or prevention of injury to, victims and perpetrators of crime. At the doctorate level of practice, forensic nurses will collaborate with other health care workers, government agencies including protective services and public health departments, criminalists, policy makers and legislators.

Forensic nursing is the application of forensic science combined with the bio-psycho-social education of the registered nurse. Competencies of the forensic nurse include scientific investigation, prevention and treatment of trauma and/or death related medical-legal issues. At an advanced practice level, care is directed toward real and potential victims of injury as well as perpetrators of crime. Forensic Nursing involves direct services to nursing, medical and/or law-related agencies, as well as providing consultation and expertise in areas related to questioned investigative processes, adequacy of services delivered, and specialized diagnoses of specific conditions as related to forensic nursing and/or pathology.

In keeping with the goals of DNP education, the Integrated Model of Forensic Nursing presented at UTHSC College of Nursing, prepares the forensic nurse to create systems of prevention and intervention in a variety of international cultures and settings, on behalf of populations impacted by unintentional injury and violence through the development of clinical practice models, health policy, and standards of care. The Integrated Model of Forensic Nursing combines concepts from Advanced Nursing Practice, Forensic Science, Public Health and Psych Mental Health Nursing in a holistic approach to the problem of injury. Graduates are prepared to assume positions of leadership as advanced practitioners, administrators, executives, public policy makers, educators and researchers.

This project is/was supported in part by funds from the Division of Nursing (DN), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under grant number USPHS-GR P 03173-03 under the title UTHSC Comprehensive Advanced Nursing Education Forensic Program for $533,920.  The information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by the Division of Nursing, BHPr, DHHS or the U.S. Government.


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DNP Forensic Nursing
Contact Information

Patricia M. Speck, DNSc, APN, FNP-BC, DF-IAFN, FAAFS, FAAN
Associate Professor and Forensics Nursing Concentration Coordinator
Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies
920 Madison, #954
Memphis, TN 38163

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