Joined USJ: 2015
A unique journey brought Nancy Cabelus, DNP, to the University of Saint Joseph. Originally a nurse, Cabelus pursued a second career in law enforcement, which incorporated many of her scientific and nursing skills. During her 20 years in law enforcement – which included terms as a State Trooper, a member of Governor Weicker’s security detail, and a detective in Major Crimes – Cabelus never relinquished her passion for nursing. She worked as a community nurse on her days off and earned a master’s degree in Forensic Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. For her doctoral degree, Cabelus developed a model of nursing intervention for survivors of human trafficking that took her around the world, including stints in Africa. Now, Cabelus continues her work in academic nursing at USJ, where she educates the next generation of nurses on the important role they play in society.
The field of forensic nursing is the area of practice where law and nursing intersect. “It’s working with populations that have both health issues and legal issues,” Cabelus explained. Her introduction to forensic nursing coincided with her time as a detective in Connecticut’s Major Crimes division and provided her with the perfect niche for her interests. Her innovative work with models of nursing intervention for survivors of human trafficking and sexual violence led Cabelus to train doctors and nurses – from Connecticut to Nairobi, Kenya – on how to become sexual assault forensic examiners. Her work with the U.S. Department of Justice helped Kenya implement the country’s law on sexual assault to achieve justice for survivors.
Cabelus’ groundbreaking work represents her lifelong passion for forensic nursing, which she continues today. Conducting research on domestic violence awareness with a graduate student, Cabelus helps survivors of life-changing crimes. After years of global outreach, she views her return to Connecticut as a chance to help those closer to home. “I would like to do more outreach with students, connecting them to vulnerable populations,” Cabelus said. She also continues her work on the role nurses play when helping survivors of trafficking and other forms of violence. “Making people aware of what their responsibilities are as advanced practice nurses is important,” Cabelus said — a sentiment she has clearly devoted her life to.
DNP, University of Tennessee
M.S.N., Quinnipiac University
B.S., St. Joseph’s College, Windham, ME
A.S., Greater Hartford Community College
A.S., Manchester Community College
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