Forensic assessment in the emergency department


Aside from the show CSI I am unaware of nursing roles in conjunction with forensic nursing. One of the articles that caught my attention was one concerning forensic assessment in the emergency department. This was interesting to me as I have spent the last 4 years of my nursing career in a very busy ED in southern California. We are exposed to many cases of physical and sexual assault; many times the patients are simply dropped off outside of the ED doors unconscious making the case a challenge from the beginning. My current knowledge and general attitude in the ED is to establish patient care first then let the police worry about the investigatory work. After reading about forensic nursing I am now aware that we play a huge role in how easily or affective the authorities can collect data. It is exciting to know that the ED staff is a part of the investigation and what we do medically to the patient can effect the entire situation.
Another interesting concept I discovered is how occupational injuries are also within the scope of practice for forensic nursing. My hospital gets 100’s of workman’s comp cases a week. I will now be more aware of this during my assessments and charting to those workman’s compensations cases.


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