Assessment, Interviewing and Documentation with Forensics

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Forensic nursing was traditionally associated with death and homicide. Today forensic nursing can be defined as the application of nursing as it overlaps with the legal system. Nurses have been taught how to perform a health assessment with history and physical examination. This includes subjective and objective findings. Good assessment skills by the nurse are important to detect both physical and emotional abuse. This is accomplished with the first interaction the nurse has with the patient.
Accurate documentation is imperative. Record direct quotes as often as possible. Avoid using medical terminology, correcting the patient’s grammar or paraphrasing the patient’s descriptions.
A unique concept of forensic assessment is alternate interviewing techniques. One such method is the “forensic genogram”. This is expanded from the traditional genogram, and includes information about the transmission of family patterns, including violence. Understanding family influences assists in understanding events that may have led to the abusive behavior.

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