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Forensic nursing group a first

Australia is set to launch its first professional association for forensic nurses.

Foundation president Associate Professor Linda Starr said the new association would strengthen the policy voice and representation of this developing specialty at a national level.

Starr told Nursing Review most of nation’s estimated 300 forensic nurses were working in isolation and greater collaboration was needed to further develop education and practice in this field.

Forensic nursing has a relatively young history here compared with more than two decades of practice in the US. The Australian Forensic Nurses’ Association gained approval from the Office of Business and Consumer affairs this month and has finalised its founding constitution to steer the direction of the new body.

Starr said she hoped the association would help drive policy development, research and leadership in this growth field of healthcare. “I’m really hoping that within five years we’ll have this association really flourishing to support forensic nursing practice in Australia,” she said.

Membership will include forensic nurses working as sexual assault examiners, in forensic psychiatry, in the prison and police system and in training and academia. Starr said the organisation would also help provide a sense of belonging and an identity for the speciality, which has been lacking. “It’s about making sure we have good policies, working with industry and in collaboration with other healthcare professionals and police.

Starr has worked with forensic nurses Mandy Ashton and Cassandra Beaumont to establish the organisation. The first annual general meeting will be held within 18 months.

Linda Belardi

See also, US collaboration on forensic nursing, [[Story: 07-310712]] Do you have an idea for a story?
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