Nursing Response to Human Trafficking: Rules of the Road

Nursing Response to Human Trafficking: Rules of the Road

Responding to victims of human trafficking that present for care require nurses to be competent in the neurobiology of trauma and trauma informed best practices for working with victims of violence. The complexity of human trafficking will be discussed from epidemiological factors as well as screening, identification and response will be discussed. A call to action will culminate the presentation as opportunities for nurses to create policy, procedures and practices for care delivery site implementation.


Dr Kathleen Thimsen has demonstrated her expertise, leadership, training, and dedication in the successful implementation of research projects, and in designing new programs that build capacity and are created to be sustainable, impactful interventions. Kathleen has extensive experience in healthcare, nursing and forensics that has advanced education and skills training to address identified gaps in practice. Most of Dr Thimsen’s work is based in community based participatory methodologies and is intentionally crafted in focus-action research and intervention development. As a healthcare/nursing professional her career’s work has focused on vulnerable population health and injury. Her doctoral work targeted identification of elder abuse victims in the emergency department.

Other research and practice change programs have included gap and asset assessments at the systems level that incorporated strategic interventions to apply evidence-based clinical practice improvement to improve care and outcomes. Dr Thimsen was instrumental in laying the groundwork in creating a victim focused collaborative network in 2015 that is an interdisciplinary and interprofessional community, academic and hospital-based network. The network provides research, care, policy and other programs. As the lead on the healthcare work group Thimsen has provided education and training for over 2500 healthcare professionals on comprehensive training on patient care encounters for victims.

Victim-centered care involves the application of trauma informed care that operates using a strength-based model for recovery. She has contributed to forensic research and practice gap studies that have been disseminated at a local, regional, national and international level. She is also a co-founder of the Academy of Forensic Nursing and the Academy of Forensic Nursing Certification Board. Dr. Thimsen has experience in budget projections, administration, staffing and oversite in research and programs maintenance and sustainability. Her strengths are focused action that includes collaboration, organization and planning, as well as ongoing monitoring with dedication to continuous improvement.