- A forensic nurse is a Registered or Advanced Practice Nurse who has completed further education and training in this field. Forensic nurses provide specialized treatment for patients who are suffering from the acute and long-term health effects of trauma or violence, as well as those who have unmet evidential needs as a result of having been victimized or accused of victimization.
- In addition, forensic nurses provide consultation and testimony in civil and criminal cases involving nursing practice, care provided, and findings made. Forensic nursing care is not separate from other types of medical treatment; rather, it is integrated into each patient’s total care needs.
The following are some of the roles of forensic nurses:
- Victims of violent crimes and their families/significant others receive consolation and psychosocial support
from forensic nurses.
- Physical injuries are treated by forensic nurses.
- Obtaining and preserving admissible evidence (for example, the victim’s clothing, bullets, and other physical
- Assessment of alleged perpetrators and evidence collection as directed
- In a perfect world, a forensic nurse would be the first health care provider to respond to a victim of violence or abuse, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, child or elder abuse, human trafficking, assault, or homicide. He or she may also be tasked with assessing and gathering evidence from the criminals. Specialized digital images of injuries, specimens such as blood, sperm, skin, hair strands, and swabs for DNA analysis, clothing, ammunition, and other items were collected.
- During the interview, physical exam, and evidence gathering, the nurse’s psychosocial skills are crucial in offering comfort, emotional support, and knowledge to the victims and their families.
- After gathering the appropriate evidence, the nurse either treat the injuries or recommends the patient to the next level of care. “The assessment of trauma prior to surgical intervention or other life-saving procedures is critical to preserve the image and description of injury before it is lost through a sea of wound washing antiseptic, instrument insertion, or suturing, Lynch says.