July 20, 2018

Growing up on a ranch in Colorado, Cris Finn realized very quickly the importance of community.

It was one of the driving forces for her and led her to a career as an emergency and trauma nurse, a leading forensic nursing expert and later as a professor at Regis University.

Finn recently received the “Journal of the International Association of Forensic Nursing” 2017 Education Article of the Year Award. Her article “Global Voyeurism or Sustainable Ethical Practice” was selected based on its innovation, significance, approach, potential impact and overall writing.

Finn sat down with Regis Today to talk about her upbringing, the article and what she is focused on now.

Tell us about the article.

The article examines the motivations and ethics of international service, education and work. When we take students globally for education and service, is it travel to see vulnerable populations or is it to make a difference? When we’re doing service learning, who wins in this? It should be done with a pure heart and compassion for our fellow person.

It’s important with service learning to really answer the question of why we do it. It shouldn’t be that we’re doing it to get a grade or check off a box. We should be doing service to make a difference.

How did growing up on a ranch shape your career?

My family were ranchers, so we learned early on to take care of each other. If something or someone was hurt, we had to figure out – in rural Colorado – what to do. Was it coyotes, for instance. We had to figure that out and protect our animals. Our closest neighbor was three miles away. But we all looked out for each other. Life is much better when we work together, than alone. Community before self, fostered survival of all.

What are you focused on now?

From working in emergency and trauma rooms, you see someone who needs your help immediately. You see them and you want to help them where they are. Now I actively work with healthcare systems, law enforcement, lawyers, judges and the criminal system. My primary focus is human trafficking and child abuse. Denver is a hotbed for these activities. You have I-70, I-25, and an international airport. The challenge is to educate others to recognize the possibilities for abuse and help stop or prevent it.

What’s something people may not know about you?

My grandkids are fifth-generation Coloradoans. Also, I have taught forensic nursing and ethics curricula in The Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Canada, Vietnam, Portugal and Scotland. I hope to continue this challenging work for many more years.