Forensic Nursing Combines Healthcare and Law

Forensic Nursing is a specialized field of study that trains nurses in cases of abuse and violent crimes where a combination of both healthcare and law are primary disciplines. Forensic nurses often find the work quite enjoyable and highly rewarding.

Often the first ones seen when a victim arrives at a hospital or clinic after an assault. Forensic nurses are trained to care for the patient but also collect evidence, document the wound, counsel the patient and communicate with law enforcement. The International Association of Forensic Nurses describes forensic nursing as "the application of the forensic aspects of healthcare combined with the bio-psycho-social education of the registered nurse in the scientific investigation and treatment of trauma and/or death of victims and perpetrators of abuse, violence, criminal activity and traumatic accidents." Forensic nurses can perform death investigations, work with inmates or even counsel schoolchildren who have fired guns.

Course work typically focuses on current population trends, wounds and how they change over time, assessment of both victims and suspects, the different social services available to victims and suspects, the psychological components of abuse, how to communicate with victims and their families, evidence collection and working with the criminal justice system.

Upon receiving their certificate in Forensic nursing, nurses are able to work with victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, patient-care neglect and physical and psychological abuse, along with child victims and the prison population. Because this is a certificate program and not a master's track, students still have the ability to specialize in any area and apply this training to advance their performance in a broad range of fields.

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