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The Role of the Forensic Nurse

January 9th, 2011


This moderately new medical practice chains components of law enforcement with health care. Forensic nurses can treat victims of violent crime, execute crime scene investigations or serve as an investigator in a medical venue to assist the men and women of law enforcement in tracking down and convicting criminals. Among the responsibilities forensic nurses have is helping in the recovery (both physical and emotional) of patients whilst defending their rights. As a result of these nurses solid work, the court system has begun to view forensic nurses as dependable sources of evidence. This credit results in further conviction rates and less crime scene inaccuracies. These nurses are specifically educated to identify, gather and preserve evidence as they mend the wounds of patients. Needless to say this job is one that is very multipurpose.

Forensic nurses are educated to keep their cool in heated moments while also being aware to console those wounded as they deal with evidence. This is extremely important in cases when those that were previously harmed are unwilling to give detailed information about their painful experience. Forensic nurses need to be able read people well – gathering the truth from a person's actions, new body marks, and any other signs that may lead to an answering conclusion. If this kind of work seems like something you are capable of doing, then you should begin to look into a nursing school that offers a forensic nursing degree program. This program is comprised of two years of graduate-level courses resulting in a Master of Science in nursing.

Still being a relatively new medical practice, there are a limited number of job opportunities for forensic nurses. Another factor in the small amount of positions available has to do with the costs for a hospital to possess a department strictly for forensic nursing, which leads to this low demand. Generally the type of work you may be able to find is part-time or on-call. However the outlook of the profession seems solid with the legal system seeing forensic nursing as a valuable commodity. The description of the position can be one that reminds you of the role certain actors play on popular television crime shows. And while that is exactly the profession those actors are pretending to be, the work they are performing on your television screen, may not be what your day to day routine would be. Cinematic adventures tend to highlight the more glamorous aspects of the position, but still display the impact a forensic nurse can have on their community.