Archive for December, 2006

Forensic Nursing in Prisons

December 25, 2006

Nurse’s working in correctional facilities with incarcerated people are troubled to balance the nurturing role of the traditional nurse with role of providing traditional nursing in the environment that encourages noncaring behaviors. Forensic nursing roles in the correctional facilities could easily involve gathering or preserving evidence of crime as these events do happen in prison environments. Hopefully that would not occur on a regular basis in our current prison environments in the U.S, however it is a part of that environment as measured by statistics.

The role of a forensic nurse as part of the Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International can be more clearly seen by me. They would be more skillful due to their specialty training to note signs of mental or physical abuse. A nurse functioning as an oversight for these groups would be in a good position to observe patterns of aggressive behavior by the health care practitioner’s, security staff and in mates.

If a nurse is functioning in the role of observer on the prisoner’s interest the correctional facility staff might not view them in a collegial manner. The security staffs are conditioned to be suspicious of activity and people. If the security does not see the nursing staff as part of the team it could alter the care of the prisoner’s and jeopardizes the nurse’s safety. I personally would struggle with the role of forensic nurse or nursing in a more traditional role with in the setting of a prison. My back ground as a home care nurse afforded me the opportunity to build relationship with patients and progress them in their knowledge of self-care. To work in an environment that necessities constant diligence with checking meds, seeking medical attention out of boredom, and constantly watching everyone’s movements in the clinic environment would leave me in a negative balance of energy. I can certainly appreciate that their work environment, isolation and poor pay scales would make it difficult to retain staffs that are motivated and efficient in the nursing profession.


“Time of death and effects of death on the body”

December 19, 2006

“Time of death and effects of death on the body.” Forensics has always been a fascinating field of study to me. My elementary students seem to feel much the same way. They ask a lot of questions about death, perhaps it is because they find it difficult to talk to their parents about the topic. Sometimes younger children want to ask “death” questions at inappropriate or much too sensitive of times. A few years ago, I decided to call a former student, who is now our town mortician, and ask if I could bring my students for a funeral home “tour.” At the time, I was not sure how it would go over, but soon realized my students appreciated the chance to learn what really “goes on down there.” She begins by informing students about the education needed to be a mortician/funeral home director, ect. Then she discusses what happens to the body at the time of death. Students learn about rigor mortis, its cause, different stages of, and how long it lasts. They were surprised to learn it doesn’t last long and some people experience “strong rigor” and others “weak rigor.” The students then proceed to the embalming room where they learn a variety of facts; reasons for the procedure, contents of embalming fluid, and its effects on the body. The students also learn about the arteries of the body and how they are used to “push” the fluid through the body, after the blood has been “pushed” out. They are also told that red blood cells are the first to decompose and, therefore, the body must be cremated within 48 hours to avoid bacterial “action.” The students also learn about what happens to a body that undergoes an autopsy AND when they arrive at the funeral home, the PARTS are in a bag within the chest cavity. The organs must then be preserved by embalming fluid poured on and over them. This seems to always bother my students the most. They feel we should leave with this Earth with the same parts as when we arrived?


Mental status assessment and forensic nursing

December 7, 2006

In advanced health assessment training a mentally unstable person is determined through history and physical assessment. The nurse will determine the abnormal behavior from physical appearance and behavior. The forensic nurse will only be involved if that particular client is a victim or was involved in a legal or crime situation.
Forensic nursing and advanced health assessment overlap in those cases because while I would be collecting data for helping the client get well the forensic nurse would be interested in finding more data for evidence against or for the client. The interests might differ but the common goal is to collect data that will eventually help the client. The forensic nurse also offers counseling and treatment like the health assessment nurse. She will come up with a diagnosis of her own though.


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