The Intriguing facets of a Forensic Nursing Career
When a child walks into the emergency room with a black eye claiming he fell or a housewife with bruises down her back who claims it's household injuries or a man with swells on his head saying he hit his head on furniture, to the untrained nurse, he or she would probably assume this had happened, give the patients the required out-patient treatment and send them home.
However, for a nurse who has been specially trained in a forensic nursing career, these bruises and scars are subjected to investigation to ensure no foul play is involved.
This profession has one main objective: to train nurses to treat victims and perpetrators of abuse, violence, criminal activity and accidents to make sure the crime and the criminal is brought to justice. In a forensic nursing career, nurses are trained to provide care for crime victims, collecting evidence as well as providing health care services in the prison system.
The testimony of a forensic nurse during court trials is very vital to prosecutors in a criminal case as these nurses are trained to gather evidence quickly and appropriately. With this evidence, it then can be used to put the crime suspect behind bars.
The field of forensic nursing encompasses Forensic Clinical Nurse Specialist, Forensic Nurse Investigator, Nurse Coroner/Death Investigator, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Legal Nurse Consultant, Forensic Gerontology Specialist, Forensic Psychiatric Nurse, and Correctional Nursing Specialist.
A forensic nursing career can be pursued even though you have obtained a diploma or degree in traditional nursing by continuing your nursing studies in forensic nursing and by being member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses.
This organization provides training and networking. Universities that provide a forensic nursing degree include University of California, Duquesne University, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, and University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
To pursue a career in forensic nursing, you need to have an in depth understanding of the nature of crime. You also need to be acquainted with police officers who spend time in emergency rooms who can help you gain valuable knowledge and insight into criminal investigation.
With training and knowledge, a forensic nurse will never discharge a victim of abuse without thorough investigation and check-ups. With a keen eye in forensic nursing, you would be able to work together with law enforcement officials in investigating crimes. Also, you would need to provide direct care to crime survivors in abuse cases, domestic violence, and sexual assault and interact with the police, the lawyers as well as social service organizations on a daily basis.
Degree programs are offered in the field of forensic nursing but it is not an entry requirement into the profession, though you would need a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Certificate) certification. This certificate is for nurses who want to specialize in domestic violence, emergency trauma and sexual assault.
Nurses who specialize in forensic nursing should also have a healthy dose of legal knowledge as this can be essential in helping and giving advice to their patients. At some point, forensic nurses are also required to be present at the scene of crime, accidents, catastrophes, and natural disasters.