The Canadian Forensic Nurses Association has chosen Nanaimo’s Aimee Falkenberg as the recipient of this year’s Visionary Award, honouring her work caring for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. (Photo submitted)

‘Unstoppable’ Nanaimo nurse recognized for caring for survivors of assault

Island Health’s Aimee Falkenberg receives Canadian Forensic Nurses Association’s Visionary Award

A Nanaimo nurse’s ‘powerful drive’ to improve her patients’ lives has earned recognition from her peers.

The Canadian Forensic Nurses Association has chosen Nanaimo’s Aimee Falkenberg as the recipient of this year’s Visionary Award, honouring her work caring for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

According to a press release from Island Health, Falkenberg has co-ordinated forensic nurse examination services on the central Island since 2016 and helped to increase access to care by 130 per cent in that time.

John-Marc Priest, regional manager of Island Health’s trauma, forensic nursing and injury and violence prevention programs, said in the release that Falkenberg has a gift for anticipating patient needs.

“While most would wish things could be better, Aimee will actively seek a solution right there and then, and works really hard to achieve it,” said Priest. “She has a powerful drive to improve patient care done in a manner that is inspiring to her team.”

Falkenberg’s nomination describes her as “unstoppable,” and adds that she is a “kind, committed, compassionate person who has made it her life’s work to bring down barriers faced by survivors of violence.”

Falkenberg said in the release that she is living her dream job working with and coordinating a successful forensic nursing team and educating new forensic nurses.

“One of my reasons for doing this work is empowering others and encouraging others. To educate another nurse and support them in doing this important work has fulfilled me more than I could ever imagine,” said Falkenberg.

Island Health added that forensic nurses are on call to provide specialized care and confidential support to patients of all genders who have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. In the first seven days after an assault, nurses can provide medical care or both medical care and a forensic exam, and can document injuries, store forensic samples and work with health, social and legal services.

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