Forensic Nurses Learn Death Investigation


Simply opening a textbook or two cannot teach a prospective forensic nurse how to proceed in a death investigation. Practical experience is necessary and requires years of learning to become proficient.

Forensic nurses can enroll in internship programs to work side by side with death investigators. They are able to go out on calls and view autopsies and see what is required of an investigator first hand.

A unique program is available at the University of Tennessee. It is known as the “body farm” but its official name is the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility. This is a place where donated or unclaimed bodies are placed in order to study decomposition. Under controlled
circumstances the workers there can study how long it takes bodies to decompose. Also, the farm is used to simulate crime scenes to further facilitate learning.

The forensic nurse death investigator must also be knowledgeable in jurisdictional as well as state and local laws. They must be excellent communicators. They have to communicate with authorities as well as with families of the victims. They will be called on as expert witnesses in
court and also as fact witnesses. They must be knowledgeable in anatomy and physiology and also be skilled at writing reports.

The job of a death investigator can be exciting and rewarding but requires study and dedication. The role has the potential to touch many lives in a positive way during a difficult time.

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