#100ForensicRNs (Leadership Training and Lobby Day)

Register_Today_ImageI don’t typically post live events on my site, but I will certainly promote the 2017 Leadership and Lobby Days, what with the current political climate and all (and also, full disclosure, I helped plan this event). I’m particularly excited about it because it is an opportunity for forensic nurses to develop their own voice, whether for lobbying (which we’ll do on the 2nd day), seeking support for programs from funders or hospital administrators, or letting community members and organizations know about existing or expanding services. While IAFN has had an annual Lobby Day for several years, this is the first time we are adding an education component (complete with 6 CEs), focused on topics we don’t usually cover at the annual conference.

The Leadership Training has a fantastic agenda (DOC)–we’ll be working with communications professionals to build our capacity around messaging and storytelling, a skill that’s critical in a variety of professional settings. It will be interactive, relevant and besides the obvious educational benefits, provide a terrific opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the country (and ideally, the globe–more on that in a minute).

The goal is to have 100 forensic nurses here in DC for the training day, and on the Hill on day 2 (hence the hashtag #100ForensicRNs), speaking to legislators and their staff about the issues important to us and our patients. To that end, a couple things to note:

  • If you don’t know how to go about setting up appointments with your legislators (or even who they are), it’s covered.
  • Don’t feel comfortable lobbying on your own? We’ll be pairing people up with mentors if they so choose (I’ve mentored folks the last couple years and it’s a blast to watch folks discover their own voice in this process).
  • Not living in the US? This is still a great opportunity to learn with your peers and visit your embassy to discuss the issues front and center in your country.
  • Not sure about schlepping to DC for this? I have 3 words for you: Cherry Blossom Festival. This is taking place in the heart of cherry blossom season, and with the training on a Monday and Tuesday, it’s a perfect excuse to come in the weekend before and enjoy the city at its best.
  • And last, but certainly not least, I’ll be hosting a casual get together Tuesday evening after Lobby Day for folks who are sticking around, to debrief, enjoy each other’s company, and give everyone a chance to see Sasha 🙂


Hotel and travel info 

Hope to see you this spring!


Since Last We Spoke, 1-30-17

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the advanced topics for testimony–I received a lot of interesting suggestions and general feedback, so I think I have a good idea of where I’m headed with it. Also, does anyone else feel like this past week was a month long? Much unrest here in the capital and elsewhere (it’s amazing and I feel incredibly proud, but oh, Quebec City, my heart is breaking with last night’s news). I’m treading water trying to keep up, stay on top of what impacts me personally and professionally, and sift through the innuendo and untruths for what is actual factual information (not that that necessarily counts for much right now). So here’s what has caught my eye since last we spoke:

I hope folks caught the announcement of this amazing opportunity (more tomorrow, btw)

President Trump, meet my family

NYT is not equivocating

One thing I can do as a citizen is allocate my dollars ethically, like so

Also here and here

A practical guide for taking action, from former congressional staffers

Nice girls vs kind women

The voice in your child’s head

You cannot turn patients away


Mansplaining is the funniest thing in my life right now

This was the best thing I saw/heard last week:


Feedback Needed: Advanced Topics in Courtroom Testimony

So like many of you, I am in the process of putting together my abstracts for IAFN, but I could use some input here. I’m trying to identify content that people think is advanced when it comes to courtroom testimony. I’ll probably always submit content around the basics, but I really struggle with what a truly advanced session looks like (and how to implement it in an interactive way). I know what *I* think is advanced, but that may not resonate with everyone. In the interest of trying to meet the needs of the field, my smarty-pants wife suggested I crowdsource this dilemma. A fine idea–please share your thoughts in the comments, or via Twitter or email.  And don’t be surprised if I reach out to some of you about your ideas–I may need to tap into the collective brain trust to get this one on point.


Sexual Assault

SOAR Human Trafficking Training for Healthcare Providers

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Trafficking in Persons has been offering their SOAR to Health and Wellness training to clinicians, social workers and public health professionals, and the next healthcare provider session will be on March 9th.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 12.51.46 PM

Contrary to the rather nonspecific name, this training specifically [E]quips professionals with skills to identify, treat, and respond appropriately to potential victims and survivors of human trafficking.

By applying a public health approach, SOAR seeks to build the capacity of communities to identify and respond to the complex needs of victims and survivors of human trafficking and understand the root causes that make individuals, families, and communities vulnerable to trafficking.

After attending SOAR training, you will be able to:

  • Stop – Describe the scope of human trafficking in the United States
  • Observe – Recognize the verbal and non-verbal indicators of human trafficking
  • Ask – Identify and interact with victims and survivors of human trafficking using a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach
  • Respond – Respond effectively to potential human trafficking in your community by identifying needs and available resources to provide critical support and assistance

The sessions are held online and in person, but to my knowledge tey are not archived, so if you want the training it must be done on the date offered. Registration is not yet available, but keep checking back for the link.


Since Last We Spoke, 1-23-17

I have to tell you, Saturday was really something else. I attended the March here in DC with my wife, my stepmom, my wife’s aunt and a few additional friends, and it was an experience I will never forget. As I’m sure you’ve read by now, turnout far exceeded estimates, so just getting down there from our house took a long time. If you’ve ever been stuck on the Metro at rush hour you probably know how surly people can be. Not so on Saturday. In the closest of quarters, people were laughing and sharing stories of where they came from and their delight in being present for history. In my immediate vicinity, besides the Cleveland crew that was traveling with us, we had folks from Austin, TX, Youngstown, OH, NYC, and several locals originally from Poland. There was the wife of an Army colonel heading down with a group of military spouses and a couple who had last marched in DC in the 60’s. It was as much of a celebration as people could have without being able to even move their arms or turn around.

Once we reached L’Enfant Plaza it was wall to wall humanity and movement was pretty restricted. We were finally able to stake out a spot to listen to the speakers (we were far back so all we could do was hear them), and ultimately it was more rally than march, since the whole route was clogged with people. As I looked around us we saw such diversity of race, age, gender expression, and signage representing why people were marching.


{My favorite sign–I don’t know who snapped this pic, but I saw a similar sign near us. Find more of my pics from the March on Instagram}

It was inspiring. And exhausting. I couldn’t hear everything, but in many ways that was beside the point. There was a feeling of solidarity in that moment, and I’m so glad I could participate (see what’s next on the official March site).

[Did you go to one of the Marches held around the globe? I’d love to hear about it–feel free to share in the Comments.]

Most of the reading I did this weekend was about the Marches and their aftermath; here’s what caught my eye since last we spoke:

Why they marched

She was really something else.

Front pages the next day

I cannot roll my eyes hard enough. C’mon, NYT…

Young women represented

Many male allies this weekend, but some decidedly weren’t

Just because my experience was positive doesn’t mean there weren’t still issues

And in other news:

Such a fascinating read

Beautiful passports

Calm under pressure

I firmly believe this is also true for the work we do (and why the “patient as crime scene” approach is such BS)


Thank You, Mr. President

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day.

But today–well, today was a day spent with a diverse group of professionals committed to being better. Serving our patients better, responding better. It was the very first meeting in what undoubtedly will be quite a journey and I was really pleased to be at the table. And then I got home and looked at the enormous number of emails and messages waiting for me, many of which told some version of this story.

Whether it happens, I do know that things I have loved and admired about President Obama are going to be absent from the next administration. Has he been a perfect president? Nope. But he’s been a very good one in so many ways, and the life I have now is maybe not the life I would have had if someone else had been in the White House these past 8 years. Personally or professionally.

I have no idea what next looks like–I have read plenty on Twitter and Facebook that we shouldn’t despair since we haven’t yet experienced the new administration in action. But as was also pointed out in my feeds, you don’t need to experience the plague, or a natural disaster or being trapped on an elevator with a full bladder to innately understand it’s not going to be a positive experience.

Tomorrow night I’m going to a Resistance party, and Saturday I will march with thousands of people from all over the country. And come Monday I will step up, continue to speak my mind, advocate for my patients and work at being better.

Fitting then, this. Thank you, Mr. President.

Fired Up from Dan Fipphen on Vimeo.


A Few New LGBTQ Resources

A couple newer resources available for (and about) LGBTQ patients:

  1. CDC has some infographics about sexual minority youth and violence–in schools, in relationships, etc. Trans- youth aren’t specified in this data, so be mindful of that omission, but if you’re considering some targeted programming, or you want to make it clear that your services are inclusive by adding this material to your waiting area, these are a good addition to your resource library.
  2. Futures Without Violence published some safety cards for LGBTQ IPV materials: a poster; safety cards (in English and Spanish); and a trans-/gender non-conforming safety card (in English and Spanish). They’re free downloads or you can order hard copies (also free) from their store. The dedicated web page also has some tips and other resources.

Since Last We Spoke, MLK Day 2017

It’s a bit surreal in DC this week, so in the name of self-care, Sasha and I played hooky for a bit today. We hit the National Geographic museum to check out their Instagram exhibit (it was amazing), ran into one of our faves, Sen. Cory Booker, randomly walking down the street (also amazing), grabbed an over the top lunch in Adams Morgan, and then hit the Women’s March pop-up shop on the same block for some swag (oh, we’ve got swag). Not surprisingly, we’ll be in attendance on Saturday–if you’re coming to town for the March let me know (especially if you’re staying the weekend). Would be fun to convene for coffee and donuts Sunday morning before folks head back. And if you’re looking for suggestions of [other] cool things to do when in town, drop me a line.

It’s hard for me to look away from my Twitter feed these days (and probably for the next 4 years), so there was plenty to capture my attention since last we spoke. Here’s just some of it:

In honor of the day

Some of these would actually be great for Saturday

In all seriousness, if you’re looking for signage (or just cool art)

If you’re looking for a Sister March

Multitasking is a myth

What is their pain worth? [Shudder]

I love this concept and its attendant lyricism–heroism of incremental care

Making the most of a mentor

I’m really going to miss this man

An interesting exploration of “normal America

Of course, we already knew language matters

These memes NEVER get old:

Sexual Assault

Understanding the Complexities of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (and Related Article)

OJJDP is hosting a webinar, Understanding the Complexities of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, January 30th from 2-3:30pm ET. From the announcement:

In support of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January 2017, OJJDP, in conjunction with MANY and the Wichita State University Center for Combating Human Trafficking (CCHT), will present an interactive webinar to deepen participants’ understanding of commercial sexual exploitation.

This 90-minute workshop will discuss specific circumstances that put individuals at risk of victimization and what helps them survive, and even thrive, despite experiences of abuse and exploitation.

Participants will have the opportunity to consider the pervasive impacts (biological, physical, psychological, and spiritual) on persons affected by commercial sexual exploitation and celebrate the resiliency evident in the journey from victim to survivor. Participants also will learn about tangible, intentional, and responsible actions that can be taken to support those affected.


You’ll also want to check out this recently published article from the AMA Journal of Ethics (FULL-TEXT)


Social Media and Privacy Issues for Multidisciplinary Team Members

Social media use is always one of my favorite topics, so I love that there is an upcoming webinar on the topic: Social Media and Privacy Issues for Multidisciplinary Team Members. The session is being held on January 18th at 2pm ET, and is hosted by the National Criminal Justice Training Center. The description sounds a tad unfocused, but my guess is there will be some good discussion along the way, so probably worth attending, especially if you are a program manager:

With the ever increasing use of social media, it is important to understand the issues related to disclosures of online postings during criminal proceedings and how it relates to employment. Learn about the dangers involving blurred lines between personal and professional use of social media, how to avoid professional embarrassment, discipline issues, and personal or family dangers because of online posts. Gather resources to assist in the development of agency policies for private and professional use, along with social media privacy tips.

Register here.


We’re 8! (Happy Anniversary FHO!)


Friday was FHO’s 8th anniversary–hard to believe it, but here we are. Want to know what was of most interest to readers in the past year (exempting the About page, the Clinical Guide landing page, and Conference Handouts, which always get a lot of traffic)? No surprise–a lot of it was geared toward testimony. In order of page views:

Creating a fee schedule for expert consultation and testimony

Clinical guide: Determining the age of bruises

Clinical guide: Court testimony

Clinical guide: Toluidine blue dye

Testifying for the first time

So what’s ahead for FHO as we enter our 9th year? Well for starters, a monograph on court testimony that will be coming soon. More reader-focused posts that address the realities of practice. Updates to several of the clinical guides, and a couple of new ones (I am always happy to create one if there are any requests). And of course, a continued commitment to publicizing current educational opportunities, peer-reviewed literature and other resources that make us all better at what we do. Thanks to all of you who visit FHO, especially the more than 1,000 subscribers who read us every day from the comfort of their inboxes. I look forward to seeing what this new year brings.



Certificate vs Certification

An issue that comes up repeatedly is confusion between receiving a certificate of completion and being certified. I notice it when listening to people discuss their qualifications, and while it may seem like semantics, it’s a pretty critical point. In order to be certified (as a forensic nurse, a SANE, what have you), you must complete an official certification process. In our field, that may be one offered by your state, and there are a small number of states that actually require certification for sexual assault nurse examiners (usually only RNs; APNs, PAs and physicians are frequently exempt from state certifications), or more likely, it’s through successful completion (and subsequent maintenance) of board certification (e.g. the SANE-A or SANE-P; the AFN-BC).

Here are things clinicians may do that are important to practice, but do not make them certified:

  • Complete a certificate course (for sexual assault or any other area in forensic healthcare)
  • Complete the clinical requirements that accompany a certificate course
  • Successfully demonstrate basic competencies to a program’s supervisor to begin practicing autonomously

I think this generally provides a good visual (found here, but versions also can be found on a variety of websites):



It’s a small and easy mistake to make, confusing the two concepts, but if you wish to represent yourself accurately, it’s important to know the difference.



[Related: What credentials can I list after my name?]

Sexual Assault

Upcoming Webinars from the Tribal Forensic Healthcare Project

The Tribal Forensic Healthcare project has 2 free, upcoming webinars: Funding for Forensic Exams–VAWA 2013 Requirements and VOCA (2/13); and Evidence Integrity–Keeping It Safe (3/14). They will both be archived if you aren’t available on those dates. CEUs/CMEs are available for both.

Register for Funding for Forensic Exams

Register for Evidence Integrity







































Articles of Note Uncategorized

Articles of Note: December 2016-January 2017 Edition

It’s time for Articles of Note, our regular walk through the peer reviewed literature. Keep in mind, this isn’t an exhaustive review– simply some of the articles that have captured my attention as of late (I apologize for being tardy with this) and have felt relevant to practice. As always I’ve included both the printer-friendly PDF and the actively linked Word doc.

[Be a lamb and don’t pirate my stuff, though, okay? Full attribution if you share or incorporate any of my work into your own.]



Since Last We Spoke, 1-2-17

Happy new year, everyone–hope your holidays were peaceful and filled with good food, friends, and family. Mine were pretty terrific until I was felled by a nasty case of vertigo New Year’s Eve. It’s *just* starting to dissipate this evening, so I’m thankful for that. I am briefly on the road later this week, but I have to admit I’m excited for so much DC-based work to start the new year. Plenty of interesting things on the interwebs over the break–here’s what caught my eye since last we spoke:

Much of my time over the holidays was spent with my wife and girlchild, feeding them and hosting a combined Hanukkah/anniversary party (brisket, latkes, smoked whitefish platter, etc.). But there was some downtime with plenty of interesting things on the interwebs over the break–here’s what caught my eye since last we spoke:

Wrong side of history

Remembering some heroes of 2016

The reason your life sucks so much

Fake academia is a problem

I pretty much read everything Jessica Luther publishes


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