Forensic nursing, a new phenomenon to many is one of the recent specialty areas acknowledged by the American Nurses Association or ANA. According to the International Association of Forensic Nursing or IAFN, forensic nursing practice is an application of nursing science to public or legal proceedings. It goes without saying that forensic nursing bridges between the criminal justice system and the health care system.
Under forensic nursing, investigation is done on the potential causes of morbidity and mortality in a variety of cases. And these include the investigation as well as treatment of victims of sexual assault, elder, child and spousal abuse, unexplained or accidental death, trauma and assault.
The nurses are not only required to amass evidence from perpetrators and survivors of brutal crime but also testify in the court as a fact witness or an expert witness. On the other hand, they can also comprehend evidence collection like for instance forensic photography on demand.
An estimated 7,500 nurses have dedicated their lives for investigating deaths or treating violent offenders at psychiatric facilities. Forensic nursing has become indispensable in recent past, thanks to the continuous rise in crime rates.
You might as well be surprised that forensic nursing has turned out to be a fructifying career option nowadays. You can avail degree programs in forensic nursing. All you need is education, training and a nursing license. If you are wondering why choose forensic nursing as your career option, then you must know that there is a huge demand for nurses with these specialized skills.
What it takes to be a forensic nurse? Well, all that is required of you is to have interviewing skills, scope of practice, interdisciplinary collaboration, identification of nursing roles, and testifying in court as an expert witness, and not to mention the skill of evidence collection with documentation. And beyond that you must understand the legal issues, which revolve round the expert testimony in legal proceedings. Knowledge of DNA-laboratory reports, forensic chemistry, toxicology, blood spatter interpretation, manner and mechanisms of injury, wound identification is also required.
Acute healthcare facilities, insurance companies, correctional institutions, coroner’s offices, county prosecutors, medical examiner’s offices, and psychiatric facilities are the employers of forensic nursing specialists. Forensic psychiatric nursing is a sub-specialty of forensic nursing that provides suitable psychological counseling and care for crime victims.
Forensic nursing becomes even more essential as observation, documentation, and preservation of evidence are critical in shaping the legal outcome of fierce crimes.