14:34 PM

Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Will Add to Respect and Credibility of Accomplished Forensic Nurse

Laurie Charles Delivered Talk on Intimate Partner Violence

Laurie Charles, MSN, RN, CA-CPSANE, SANE-A, SANE-P, CHSE, AFN-C, DF-AFNWhen Laurie Charles, MSN, RN, CA-CPSANE, SANE-A, SANE-P, CHSE, AFN-C, DF-AFN, decided to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Practice, the Forensic Nurse Consultant and Faculty at Texas A&M Health, Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, chose the University of St. Thomas-Houston Peavy School of Nursing’s (PSON) doctorate program

DNP Adds to Credibility and Respect

“As a forensic nurse, I testify a lot in court, and the higher degree increases my credibility and respect on the witness stand,” she said.

PSON’s program was a clear choice for this experienced and passionate health care leader.

“I looked at curricula elsewhere at that time and just didn’t like them,” the Canada-born Charles recalled. “I loved everything about transformational leadership at UST, including how to navigate complex adaptive systems. Also, conflict engagement — that you need to lean into conflict and be curious. Nursing Professor Dr. Phyllis Kritek taught me about conflict; I could not adore her more. Also, Dr. Phyllis Waters is another great professor. Those two educators were life-changing for me. I love the UST program!”

Charles Spoke at Texas Nursing Association Event

Though Charles estimates she has three more semesters to complete her DNP, she has already earned great respect in her field. In 2016, she helped create a Master’s in Forensic Nursing program at Texas A&M. And this year, when the Texas Nursing Association needed a forensic nurse to speak at its April continuing education gathering, they tapped Charles.

Charles Presented Information on a Critical Issue

During her presentation, Charles highlighted the health care problem of intimate partner violence (IPV), or interpersonal violence as it is also known. Since forensic nurses apply the nursing process to legal proceedings and in the scientific investigation of trauma, Charles ensured this audience learned to:

·      Outline risk factors for IPV in pregnancy

·      Interpret Texas laws regarding reporting of suspected IPV

·      Be aware of changes to nursing practice when working with patients who experience or are suspected of experiencing IPV during pregnancy

She shared how legislation impacts nursing and health care; nurses must be aware of legislative changes in order to provide holistic patient care. Another emphasis was mandatory reporting laws in Texas, which impact nurses and obligate them to screen for IPV.

“Since legislation and policy impact our jobs and patient care, we need to inform policy and tell policymakers what the positive and negative impacts are,” Charles said. “We need to advocate. I work for a state institution, so I don’t publicly opine, but I do educate on the potential ramifications.”

Charles stresses that nurses must ask patients about the potential of violence and know the most effective ways to determine the truth to provide the best individualized care for their patients.

“If we don’t ask about potential violence, they won’t tell us,” she said. “We have to ask.”

A Transformational Leader Making a Difference 

As a transformational leader in forensic nursing, Charles continues working on her DNP and making a difference in patients’ lives by sharing her experience and knowledge with other forensic nurses.

For more information on all of UST’s nursing programs, go here.