Forensic Nursing Process

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When in nursing school we are taught the nursing process. The nursing process is something that we use through our whole career. Forensic nurses use the same process when investigating crimes whether dealing with living or dead victims. An article written by Rae Wooten, BSN, RN, ABMDI discusses the nursing process. When considering forensic nursing Wooten uses the processes of assess, plan, implement, and evaluation. She states that the need to validate how the nursing process is applied to death investigation became apparent in 2002. A state board of nursing threatened not to renew the active licenses of practicing nurse death investigators. One of the reasons the board gave was that forensic nurse investigators do not practice like other nurses and do not use the nursing process. Wooten states that the nursing process is very prevalent in forensic nursing. She does state that she does not use diagnosis after plan because she feels that it is not possible to plan without a diagnosis. She instead uses the term implement after plan.
She defines the nursing process in her article. Assessment begins as soon as a forensic nurse arrives on the seen of a crime. The immediate environment, medical and social history of the victim, location of death, time of day and the weather are all assessed. Plan is done after assessment. The plan will involve how to deal with the evidence at the crime scene, who to interview, planning the rest of the investigation. The third step is implementation. This step is pretty self-explanatory. The last step is evaluation. This is step is going back and looking at the crime and all of the information she has collected through the investigation. Wooten states that the nursing process will be used until the crime has been solved. Evaluation is an on going process.
The nursing process is vitally important in all aspects of nursing. It gives bases for nursing care to begin and should continue throughout the care of the patient or in the case of forensic nursing throughout the investigation of the crime.

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