Advocates: Community served by trained forensic nurses

Nov. 5 ushered in Forensic Nurses Week to recognize forensic nurses who provide specialized care for men, women and children affected by violence and abuse. Advocates of Routt Countyinvites the Routt County community to celebrate nurses who provide the essential component of healthcare’s response to violence and trauma. 

First recognized as a nursing specialty in 1995, forensic nursing is the newest, fastest growing nursing specialty in the world, igniting interest in both practicing and prospective nurses.

While sexual assault nurse examiners — SANEs — are perhaps the most recognized within the specialty, forensic nurses provide necessary services in a variety of fields where healthcare and legal systems intersect, including domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, elder mistreatment, human trafficking, death investigation, corrections and man-made and natural disasters. Communities that promote forensic nursing arm themselves with the vital resources to combat the short- and long-term health consequences of violence and abuse, launch effective prevention efforts and ensure the administration of justice.  

While it is estimated that fewer than 20 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have forensic nurses on staff, the Routt County community is lucky to have a team of four specially trained forensic nurses, three that were recently trained this year. 

“UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center believes in providing our community with the immediate availability of nurses specialized in forensic care. We believe patients who have endured violent acts should receive quality, educated healthcare,” said Patty Oakland, forensic nurse examiner.

Advocates is honored to be able to collaborate with these dynamite forensic nurses through our Sexual Assault Response Team and Domestic Violence Response Team and are excited about the positive solutions we are working on together for our community. The continued success of SART and the creation of DVRT would not be possible without Patty Oakland, who in addition to her work as a forensic nurse examiner, recently joined Advocates as a part-time social change advocate.

Please join us in honoring forensic nurses this week. We encourage the community to send a thank you note or email to your local forensic nurses thanking them for all that they do.

To learn more about forensic nursing and Forensic Nurses Week, visit or to learn more about Advocates and their work with forensic nurses through SART and DVRT, further information soon to be posted at

Advocates of Routt County

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