Just What Is A Forensic Nurse?

Since beginning my studies in Forensic Nursing, I have been amazed by the questions repeatedly asked by my fellow ER colleagues, family, and friends: “A Forensic Nurse? Where are you going to get a job dealing with dead people? Do you watch CSI and Forensic Files?” That’s when I eagerly engage them in an educational monologue on what they all know has been a true passion of mine for years. They seem somewhat perplexed to learn that in Forensic Nursing, the focus is on the living patient. Most think that the term “forensic” solely applies to crime scenes and death. I explain that the concept of forensic nursing encompasses so much more. It’s ultimate nursing with a legal edge. Proper assessment, investigation, documentation, evidence collection, and intervention for patients with suspected violence, abuse, neglect, or liability-related issues are the key elements in achieving successful clinical forensic practice. With each chapter I study, my role as a health-care provider, patient advocate, and future forensic nurse becomes more clearly defined. It also helps me delineate fact from fiction for my “not-so-forensically-inclined” audience!

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