Discusses forensic nursing, focusing on the science of forensic nursing, as well as the methods used in forensic nursing. Key concepts addressed by forensic nurse examiners are also described, including identifying blunt force trauma versus sharp force trauma. The role of the forensic nurse in criminal cases is explained, and legal context is given.
Sheila D. Early, RN, BScN, has four decades of health care experience as a registered nurse, administrator, clinician, and educator in emergency and forensic nursing. Ms. Early co-developed British Columbia’s first sexual assault nurse examiner program in 1992. She developed Canada’s first classroom-delivered Advanced Specialty Certificate in Forensic Health Sciences at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (2005). Ms. Early performed the first nurse examiner medical forensic examination in British Columbia (1994), remaining a practicing nurse examiner until 2007. Her experiences have provided her with the background to provide education to health care providers and other disciplines in forensic healthcare issues relating to violence, trauma, and crime. She has provided forensic nursing education both nationally and internationally for the past fifteen years. She has received nursing awards, including the British Columbia Institute of Technology Teaching Excellence Award (2014), the University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing Alumni Nurse of Influence Award (2014), the International Association of Forensic Nurses Achievement Award (2010), the B.C. Ministry of Health “One of 150 Outstanding Nurses of BC” (2008), the Registered Nurses Association of B.C. Award of Excellence in Nursing Practice (2002), and the National Emergency Nurses Affiliation Award of Excellence in Emergency Nursing Education (1997). Ms. Early was the first non-American president of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (2014). Sheila and her husband Peter have resided in Surrey, B.C., for twenty-seven years.
Caitlin M. Pakosh, HBSc, JD, has been working as case management counsel of Innocence Canada (formerly known as AIDWYC) since 2012 and is responsible for managing the Association’s cases across Canada. She obtained her honours bachelor of science degree, specializing in forensic anthropology and earning a minor in biology, from the University of Toronto Mississauga in 2008. Her undergraduate thesis, which examined the decomposition of dismembered pig limbs enclosed in plastic bags and submerged in Lake Ontario, was conducted during her internship with the Toronto Police Service Marine Unit and published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 2009. Ms. Pakosh obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary in 2011. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and has worked on intervener and appellate cases that have appeared at a variety of levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as ministerial review applications. Since 2013, Ms. Pakosh has cross-examined forensic science students in annual mock trials at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where students practise being expert witnesses. She is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is also an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.