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Forensic Science for Healthcare Professionals

What is Forensic Nursing? A Career Guide

In past one decade this new domain of forensic science has emerged as a booming career option for the students interested in making their career in forensic science. Even in my 15 years career, I came across this just few years back. So, here we are going discuss about this fascinating domain of forensic science.

Forensic Nursing

Basically, it is the application of forensic science, combined with professional nursing experience as it is applied in law enforcement to public or legal proceedings. Moreover, when forensic health care aspects are combined with the registered nurse's bio-psycho-social education in the scientific investigation and treatment of trauma, death, violent or criminal activity and traumatic accidents within a clinical or community institution it is collectively called as 'Forensic Nursing'.

What Forensic Nurses do?


The forensic nurse acts as an impartial finder of fact; to use scientific principles and methods in identifying, recording, gathering and evaluating physical evidence related to diseases, accidents and crimes (mainly sexual assaults) that can be suffered by all kinds of victims. Both male and female forensic nurses are required for this purpose.

They medically examine the victim, gather the required evidences (photographs, body fluids, tissues, etc.), interrogate the victims, gather evidences from suspects as well, prepares a report for the court purposes. 

Categories of Forensic Nurses:


Correctional Nursing Specialists: Correctional nursing services offer secure, high-quality health care to persons held by the courts, including those in jail, prison, facilities for juvenile offenders and other institutions of correction. Correctional nursing professionals may tend to the ill within these facilities, conduct routine physical tests, and prescribe medicine to people with chronic needs.

Forensic Clinical Nurse Specialists: Forensic clinical nurse practitioners hold a master's or doctoral degree in forensic nursing and use their advanced training to work as professionals in various forensic settings as physicians, instructors, analysts, consultants and administrators. These may be working in emergency rooms, facilities for sexual assault tests, psychological medical care units or teams for death investigation.

Forensic Nurse Investigators: They discover the circumstances surrounding an accidental or violent death. Forensic nurse inspectors, usually working in a medical examiner's or coroner's office, inspect the body, study the scene, assist in autopsies and gather medical and social history details on the deceased to determine the exact cause of death.

Forensic Psychiatric Nurses (FPN): They are trained in dealing with mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally disordered victims. They evaluate and select patients to be treated, provide rehabilitative care and oversee the actions of a patient within the community. Furthermore, psychiatric forensic nurses can examine and treat criminal defendants as well as assist colleagues who have witnessed abuse.

Legal Nurse Consultants (LNC): Professional nurse practitioners help lawyers deal with civil cases where law and medicine overlap. Some of these conditions may include medical assault, personal injury, insurance for employees, and probation. Professional nurse consultants apply their forensic nursing education and clinical experience to identify, examine and evaluate the relevant medical knowledge for a case.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE): Sexual assault nurse examiners provide compassionate, timely treatment to the sexual assault victims. Qualified through a professional forensic nursing education, they identify and analyze the injuries suffered by a patient; locate, gather and package forensic evidence related to the crime; and provide information or recommendations about the continued treatment of the victim.

How you can be a Forensic Nurse?


As it is clear from the profession, it is well suited for the graduates of nursing or medical. Additionally a degree in forensic science is also required. In case you have done degree or diploma in medical lab technology or pathology, then also you have a chance to enter into this field.

There are number of universities offering this specialized programs. Please do check there as well for more information. Another program is being offered by American Institute of Health Care Professionals. 



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