Evidence Collection and Preservation


While I fully believe that forensic nursing is a specialty field whose nurses are highly trained to see the unseen, I also believe that on the more basic levels, all competent nurses, by definition, are forensic nurses.  According to the website, www.dictionary.com, one of the definitions of a nurse is, “a person formally educated and trained in the care of the sick or infirm.” Also from this website, one definition of care is to give “serious attention to, heed, caution to, or protection to.” As nursing students, we began receiving instruction on and experience with critical thinking during our first semester “Fundamentals” class. Critical thinking is defined as “an active, organized, cognitive process used to carefully examine one’s thinking and the thinking of others. It involves recognizing that an issue (client problem) exists, analyzing information about the issue (clinical data about a client), evaluating information (reviewing assumptions and evidence), and making conclusions (Potter and Perry, 2009). This requires not only cognitive skills and a sound knowledge base, but a habit and the courage to ask questions as well.  We are taught systematic and thorough approaches to data collection through the client’s health history, how to obtain sterile samples, and how to preserve any findings (or evidence). In addition, we are taught to be open-minded and objective- to seek the true meanings in every situation. As nurses, we are expected to use evidence-based knowledge and to be eager to learn explanations of any manifestations. Through the mastery of these skills, we develop our “experience knowledge base” – the foundation upon which to create a final picture from all the individual pieces that define our client- just like the forensic nurses do.

First Original Post
April 27, 2009
Title: When Injuries Speak, Who Will Listen?
Any good forensic nurse learns very quickly to interpret what injuries are telling them. What those injuries actually say may answer some truly horrible questions. The rapidly-growing field of forensic nursing is routinely involved with cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse and other traumatic violence. At the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Daniel Sheridan, RN, PhD, is the architect of a new master’s specialty in forensic nursing aimed at preparing a new generation of leaders in the rapidly evolving field. "The forensic nurse needs to have a little bit of detective in him, to be able to do some deductive reasoning, and to be able to put all the pieces together in order to solve the puzzle." Forensic nursing students can expect to take a variety of classes ranging from Ethics of Health Care to Family Violence. Forensics is sometimes a collision between law and medicine. Although the medical, legal and social authorities are working together, everyone’s focused on their own priorities. Nurses are in an ideal position to bridge these worlds; "it’s easier to train a nurse in the principles of evidence collection, preservation and crime scene analysis than it is to train cops in health care principles. Labrecque, J. (2003). When injuries speak who will listen? John Hopkins Nursing, Vol. 1, No. 1

Second Original Post
May 12, 2009
Title: Evidence Collection
Forensic nursing has always interested me. Realizing I have half the skills needed to become an forensic clinical nurse is exciting. The evolution of forensic nursing is just becoming a true role. So there is alot of opportunity for growth and changes. Upon reading our test one thing that has really made an impression on me is the preservation of evidence. Being it an gun shot wound or stabbing. I have worked at an level two trauma center for years and never realized the importance of savoring the evidence such as clothing. Because I was only focused on the task at hand not looking at the other disciplines. And what they made need. Basic education to me or my staff would of been a huge help from an legal aspect.

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