Forensic Nursing

 

There are many situations in life where the two worlds of the legal and the health systems collide, and one of the careers that can be found at this intersection is forensic nursing.

And if you’re the sort of person that enjoys the challenge of having a job that crosses over into a couple of different industries and fields of expertise, than becoming a forensic nurse could be exactly the sort of career looking.

So let’s start off with an answer to the questions of what is a forensic nurse, before moving on to talk about what it is that forensic nurses do and how you actually go about getting started in forensic nursing.

Forensic Nursing In A Nut Shell

At the most basic level a forensic nurse is simply a nurse who treats patients that have either been the victims of crime, or have been the person who was the perpetrator of a crime.

As well as their regular nursing duties of treating the patient, they also have a role to play in the legal process that follows from the crime that their patient has been involved in.

What Does A Forensic Nurse Do?

There are two responsibilities of the forensic nurse – treating patients, and doing this with one eye on any aspect that may be relevant in a legal sense.

Obviously treating the patient has to be the priority of any nurse and it is no different with a forensic nurse.

But where they differ from a regular nurse is that they also have a duty to go about their nursing duties and also handle certain legalities that nee to be covered.

So the first aspect of the legal side of things will be the collection of any evidence from the patient that may be required in any future court case.

Further to this they may also be required to provide testimony in those legal proceeding s about the evidence that they’ve collected and answer any questions that might be raised by the lawyers.

Who Does  A Forensic Nurse Normally Treat?

The most common patients that are treated in forensic nursing will be victims of sexual crimes.

Not only are these women often in desperate need of medical attention, but they are generally in a mentally distraught state, and should be treated by someone who has experience with other women who have suffered from these types fo crimes.

So along with the treatment would come the collection of any evidence and this would generally come via the use of a rape kit.

Other common patients that may be treated by forensic nurses include: victims of assault and domestic violence as well as children who have suffered from some sort of abuse or neglect.

Forensic Nursing Career Path

So the next question is…how do you become a forensic nurse?

The most popular way to get into forensic nursing is to complete a Masters in Forensic Nursing, but there are also certificate course which can be completed that will help you enter the field of forensic nursing.

Although there may be one or two undergraduate programs that focus on forensic nursing they are the exception rather than the rule, so before you can complete the masters or certificate courses in forensic nursing, you’ll need to go through the normal study and training to get your nursing qualifications.

 

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