The Roles of Forensic Nursing in Caring for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness
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Expires on Jul 08, 2026
Credit Offered
1 CME Credit
1 NCPD Credit
1 COP Credit

Persons with serious mental illness are over-represented in the criminal legal system and face criminal charges more commonly than the general population, often for low level offenses. In addition, they are at risk for victimization from crime yet often are not seen as credible witnesses or their accounts may not be taken at face value.  When they come to a setting for care and treatment, a multidisciplinary team is often made available to support them. Among team members are nurses, a critical workforce that spends time interacting with these individuals and provides nurturing, offer medications, education, support and care, while giving input on observations to the individual and the rest of the treatment team that help guide the treatment planning for the well-being of the individual. Yet, nursing in forensic contexts is all too often not discussed. In this webinar, the presenters will review aspects of forensic nursing, the patient population that is typically seen in correctional and healthcare settings and provide important information to help make the work more fruitful and rewarding.


Enduring webinar 

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the prevalence of individuals with SMI in criminal settings. 
  • Discuss the roles of nursing in treatment of individuals who have SMI and involved in criminal-legal processes or may be victims of crime. 
  • Apply information about forensic nursing to contexts where individuals with SMI may receive care and treatment. 

Target Audience

Nurse/Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatrist 

Instructional Level


Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1.0 hour 
Program Start Date: January 26, 2023 
Program End Date: July 8, 2026  

Ongoing Interdisciplinary Discussion Board

After completing the course, engage with colleagues in the mental health field through SMI Adviser's Webinar Roundtable Topics discussion board. This is an easy way to network and share ideas with other clinicians who participate in this webinar. Access through the discussion tab.

How to Earn Credit 

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, nursing continuing professional development contact hours (NCPD, formerly CNE), or a certificate of participation may do so by viewing the live presentation and completing the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians), NCPD (nurses), or certificate of participation (other disciplines) showing the event date and hours earned.  

Continuing Education Credit 

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. 


The APA designates this live event for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Nurses/Nurse Practitioners 

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. 

Planning Committee and Faculty Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Faculty Disclosures

  • Donna Rolin, PhD, APRN is Clinical Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing and the Director of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Texas with 21 years of experience in psychiatric nursing. She is co-leading inter-disciplinary graduate training initiatives with Schools of Nursing, Medicine, Educational Psychology, Social Work, and Pharmacy with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board aiming to expand a culturally diverse workforce for underserved populations. She serves as the Co-Director of the Institute for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA), working alongside Schools of Social Work, Law and Bureau of Business Research. Dr. Rolin’s current research focuses on wellness self-management for mental health promotion and the integration of telepresence robots in healthcare education. Dr. Rolin has no financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Debra A. Pinals, MD serves as the director of the Program in Psychiatry, Law, and Ethics and as a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. She is a clinical adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She also is the medical director of behavioral health and forensic programs for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She is board certified in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, and is a board certified in addiction medicine. From 2008 to 2016, she was the assistant commissioner of forensic services, and between 2012 and 2014, she was the interim state medical director for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. During her career she has been a clinical psychiatrist in community mental health, inpatient settings, forensic and correctional facilities, emergency rooms, and court clinics. Dr. Pinals has no financial relationships to disclose.  
  • Jenny Black BSN, RN, SANE-A is the Director of Forensic Nursing at the SAFE Alliance in Austin, Texas. She has been a forensic nurse since 2007. In 2015, Ms. Black cofounded Austin’s community based forensic nursing program. She was a principle investigator on the University of North Carolina’s Women’s Health Study, the first national study to research the recovery process after sexual assault. Ms. Black is certified as a sexual assault nurse examiner by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. She has served in leadership at the Travis County Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team and is a member of the Texas Office of the Governor's Sexual Assault Survivors' Task Force. Ms. Black is a national educator and consultant on leadership, patient centered care, and the medical response to sexual assault. Ms. Black believes that one of the most important functions of forensic nursing is to reduce suffering. Ms. Black has no financial relationships to disclose.  


  • Teri Brister, PhD, LPC, National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dr. Brister has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • John Torous, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Torous has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Donna Rolin, PhD, APRN, University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Rolin has no financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Donna Rolin, PhD, APRN, University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Rolin has no financial relationships to disclose. (Reviewed on 6/15/2023)

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance

Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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