In the mid 1990s, some of the first formal forensic nursing educational programs were established. Now more than a decade later, courses exist at educational levels from certificate to doctorate programs, with little educational research having been conducted. This recent study explored forensic nursing knowledge as a specialty area of study and factors influencing educational development. This paper reports on social factors that facilitated and impeded educational development in the forensic nursing specialty from the perspective of forensic nurse educators in North America. Changing attitudes to previously sanctioned professional roles in society provided discussion for implications for forensic nursing practice.