Nurse-Corner to Forensic Consultant: One Emergency Nurse’s Experience

Marion Cumming RN, BCFE is owner of the consulting firms Corner/Medical Examiner Resources and Living Forensic in Pembine Wisconsin and ED staff nurse at Holy Family Memorial Medical Center in Manitowoc Wisconsin. She writes in Journal of Emergency Nursing that nursing is excellent background for becoming a forensic nurse death investigator. In 1973 she became curious about the coroner and wanted to know about coroner’s role and responsibilities and how death investigation was conducted. A coroner invited her to become his deputy. Then three years later the coroner did not seek reelection and so she ran for the office. She became the first female nurse-coroner and saw many opportunities to improve the services provided to families, health care agencies and communities. Her philosophy is “the coroner is the protector of the living through the investigation of death.” During her career she did education on SIDS, helped catalyze the development of crisis intervention, spoke with seniors about geriatric suicide, and she was appointed co-chair of the Wisconsin Coroners Medical Examiners Association (WCMEA) committee on standards of practice. She founded the Manitowoc County Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) team. Then in 1993 she started her consulting firm. She writes imagine the impact forensic nurse-coroners could have in improving death investigation systems worldwide. Forensic nurses are not only likely to improve the recognition, preservation, and documentation of evidence, they will also contribute to enhancing our systems of health care and aid in solving public health dilemmas. The forensic nurse will find that the trail of death investigation is open-ended with respect to want needs to be done for the deceased, the survivors and the community at large.

Cumming: J Emerg Nurs, Volume 22(6).December1996.494-497

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