Strengthening the Science of Forensic Nursing through Education and Research

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report was released in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The culmination of a two-year initiative, this report provides recommendation to guide nursing moving forward. The four key messages are:

  1. Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
  2. Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
  3. Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
  4. Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and improved information infrastructure.

This article examines the impact of this report and its recommendations on the practice of forensic nursing. The authors ask that the International Association of Forensic Nursing (IAFN) endorse the report, and link report recommendations to the IAFN strategic plan.

The field of forensic nursing, the authors argue, cares for all victims of violence, as well as perpetrators. Forensic nursing must step up to fill its expanded role, concentrating on the key messages outlined in The Future of Nursing report. Forensic nurses must establish educational standards that define their practice in the larger health care community and continue to develop creditable and defensible evidence-based standards for their practice.