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Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing

Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing

Established to support people who experience violence across the lifespan, the Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing facilitates interprofessional collaborations to offer unsurpassed research and training opportunities by providing forensic nursing education and outreach for nurses, other medical professionals, law enforcement, attorneys, social workers and advocates.

What is Forensic Nursing? 

Victims of violence—those who endure sexual assault, intimate partner violence, neglect or any other form of intentional injury—deserve and require patient-centered, trauma-informed care. Forensic nurses are professionally trained to treat these victims as patients, keeping them and all they have endured at the center of that treatment. 

Texas Evidence Collection Protocol 

In an unprecedented, joint effort with the Office of the Texas Attorney General, faculty with specialized training and education in forensic nursing at Texas A&M College of Nursing formalized updates to the Texas Evidence Collection Protocol (TXECP). This document serves as the standardized guide for physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, nurses, sexual assault nurse examiners and fellow health care professionals to use in their mission to provide trauma-informed, evidence-based and patient-centered care across the entire state of Texas. Learn more about the TXECP with our webinars.

Vision, Mission and Goals

The Vision of the center is to be a nationally recognized, well-funded and endowed research, education, and outreach center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing.

The Mission of the center is to improve health outcomes of those affected by violence and disaster. The center leads the nation in developing and implementing interdisciplinary, trauma-informed strategies to prevent and address violence across the lifespan through research, academic programs, continuing education and outreach.

The Goals of the center are to:

  • Educate Texas nurses to provide trauma-informed care to violence victims;
  • Establish partnerships with community stakeholders to stop cycles of violence;
  • Advance forensic nursing knowledge through research; and
  • Develop leaders via a Master of Science in nursing with a forensic nursing focus.

Current & Proposed Projects

The Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, as designated by the Texas A&M Board of Regents on August 8, 2019, establishes a first of its kind resource for registered nurses, emergency health care professionals, physicians assistants, law enforcement officers and others that interface with some of our state's most vulnerable populations.

Our forensics team is leading the charge is sustaining positive momentum and impactful research through strategic partnerships, community outreach and engagement, and unique simulations to educate, train and equip nurses to provide trauma-informed, patient-centered care.

  • Deliver continuing professional education through web-based platforms, instructor-led trainings, special-topics workshops, and experiential learning (simulation) throughout Texas.
  • Assure access to highly qualified sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) through training directed at nurses working in rural and underserved areas.
  • Implement a web-based statewide Community of Practice to underwrite support for and consultation to forensic nurses in Texas.
  • Create and disseminate academic lectures for Texas A&M students and community-focused newsletters on interpersonal violence topics such as human trafficking and elder abuse.
  • Assist governmental agencies to provide impactful activities to address interpersonal violence, including providing input on pending legislation.
  • Support the community by delivering care to those experiencing violence and abuse.
  • Subject to state and federal funding, develop telehealth innovations to support health care providers to provide evidence-based, trauma-informed care to patients in rural and underserved area requiring treatment related to interpersonal violence.


  • Speaker Request
    • Faculty and staff provide instructional trainings, serve as guest speakers and support continuing education in a variety of ways. To request a member of our team for your next event, please complete the Speaker Request form found here.

Faculty & Staff

Stacey Mitchell, DNP, MBA, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN

Director, Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing
Clinical Associate Professor, Texas A&M University College of Nursing
Stacey Mitchell's bio »

Nancy Downing, PhD, RN, CP-SANE, SANE-A, FAAN

Associate Professor, Texas A&M University College of Nursing
Nancy Downing's bio »

Daniel J. Sheridan, PhD, RN, FNE, FAAN

Professor, Texas A&M University College of Nursing
Daniel J. Sheridan's bio »


Clinical Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University College of Nursing


Program Manager for Forensic Outreach

Chelsea Knutson, MSN, RN

Program Manager for Forensic Outreach

Cynthia Hurt

Senior Administrative Coordinator l
Cynthia Hurt's bio »


Texas A&M Health Science Center Biocorridor Signage

Physical address:

8447 Riverside Parkway, Bryan, TX 77807
Health Professions Education Building, 3rd Floor


Support the Center

Forensic nursing provides specialized care needed across the state and nation. Supporting ongoing research, community outreach programs and expansion of educational opportunities ensures the Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing provides innovative instruction, evidence-based practice and state-of-the-art learning environments for those seeking to provide trauma-informed, patient-centered care.

Save lives through education and outreach. Plan your financial gift.

Patty Rabel

Patty Rabel, CFRE

Senior Director of Development, Texas A&M College of Nursing

Phone: 979.436.0175  |


Texas A&M College of Nursing Forensic Nursing Program

The Texas A&M College of Nursing prepares students to care for victims and perpetrators of traumatic events or criminal acts that result in trauma or death. The classes taken within the college’s forensic nursing program help nurses develop skills in trauma-informed health care and evidence collection in a clinical setting.

Although Texas requires that all practicing nurses in an emergency department setting receive two hours of continuing nursing education on forensic evidence collection, students in the College of Nursing receive six and a half hours. 

"Nurses play an important role facilitating justice for survivors of violence. They integrate patient care with the evidentiary needs of justice.”

-Nancy Downing, PhD, RN, CP-SANE, SANE-A, FAAN, Associate Professor

Texas A&M College of Nursing Continuing Education Courses

There is a growing need to graduate more forensic nurses to become sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE certified), to provide continuing education in forensic nursing for registered nurses and to provide multidisciplinary education for nurses, law enforcement, social workers and advocates.

“Enhancing the knowledge and skills of Texas nurses to help them provide better patient care for survivors is the goal. Wherever a nurse is in their career, they can benefit from courses or programs offered through the college."

-Laurie Charles, MSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, Clinical Assistant Professor

Registration for all professional and continuing education courses is posted through the Texas A&M University Continuing Education Department.  

To provide timely resources, PowerPoint presentations, voice-over/video presentations and other supportive materials will be posted here soon. Thank you for your patience as we create this informational portal to support your role as a forensic nurse.