ETSU offering online forensic nurse certificate

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East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing has added a forensic nurse certificate to its lineup of online programs.

The post-baccalaureate certificate is for nurses who want to expand their knowledge beyond the training acquired as a sexual assault nurse examiner — or SANE — nurse. The course examines how intentional human violence intersects with health care and the criminal justice system, while integrating forensic science and social services, ETSU’s website states.

Forensic course content includes the neurobiology of trauma, child and elder maltreatment, dating violence, intimate partner violence, strangulation, sexual assault, commercial sexual exploitation, technology-facilitated sexual violence, perpetrator behaviors, death investigation, and court testimony.

SANEs are registered nurses with specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced any of the previously mentioned abuses, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

“ETSU’s Forensic Nurse Certificate program builds on SANE training and prepares nurses for many of the issues that arise when dealing with patients who have experienced human violence,” Judy McCook, professor in the College of Nursing and director of the forensic nurse certificate program, said in a press release.

“Since January of 2019, we have provided SANE-A training for more than 100 nurses and we have additional funds to help others earn that prerequisite,” McCook said. “Once they complete the initial online SANE-A course, our new Forensics Certificate Program is the perfect next step for those nurses who want detailed knowledge in this specialty.”

Requirements for admission are:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Unencumbered registered nurse license
  • Completion of an approved didactic course for sexual assault nurse examiner care of adolescents and adults SANE-A training that meets the educational guidelines of course work for the adolescent/adult sexual assault nurse examiner; course work must be within three years of program application or permission of certificate admission committee.

The graduate program, designed for working professionals, requires 12 credit hours to complete at a cost of $751 per credit hour for online, out-of-state students.

Georgia added its first statewide SANE coordinator in 2019.

“This is a brand new role in our state,” explained Sarah Pederson, who started working in the position in January of that year. “We have never had a statewide coordinator, and it’s the first time an RN has been employed at the state agency (the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council).”

Applications for the ETSU program are now being accepted for fall 2021. To learn more about admissions requirements and how to apply, visit or email McCook at

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