Nurses as we know, assist patients and doctors in the field of health care and care giving. As the world becomes more and more exposed to crimes, the role of the nurse evolved. A new branch of nursing has grown and this is a profession, which covers medical care and judicial or legal assistance at the same time. These new breed of professionals convene in what is called a forensic nursing association.
Forensic nurses practice this newest form of forensic science where they gather evidences related to a crime that may have been committed on a patient. The forensic information they gather can be used during trials, which may also call them as professional witnesses.
Forensic nursing is primarily geared towards helping victims of violence by producing the evidences that will help solve the crime. The traditional way to investigate on a patient is to have several people approach and ask questions. These are the social workers, doctors, police, FBI agent, etc. The victim, who may still be traumatized, will only feel worst since the recaps of the crime will have to be repeated over and over again. This can be addressed by having just one person do everything from beginning to end of the investigation. Beginning being, evidence gathering and end being, court trials and possible justice for the victim. The forensic nurse can be all these.
Forensic nurses take charge of cases of abuse and violent crimes and oftentimes, these nurses find their work truly enjoyable and very much rewarding. Owe it to the popularity of related TV programs on cable, or owe it to the increasing crime rate, more and more clinic nurses who feel they could qualify, are enrolling in certification programs.
The American Nurses Association recognizes this new field that is fast becoming popular. Nurses who just graduated as well as the really experienced Registered Nurses can consider this as their career path.
Many experts see the demand for the forensic nurses to grow and grow. This should be a cause for alarm since the growth of these special nurses mean there is increasing crime rate in the country but that’s practically why the field got conceptualized.
Organizations like the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) have been created to lead this budding group of forensics professionals. Associations like the IAFN provide services to help develop the field. They implement programs that promote the science, and disseminate necessary information about the new practice.
Members of these organizations are registered nurses that are into forensic nursing activities like:
- Scientific investigation of a evidences gathered
- Providing treatment to patients who are traumatized
- Handling interpersonal violence cases like sexual assault, abuses of all kinds, and domestic violence
- Investigation of death
- Managing forensic psychiatric cases
- Correctional nursing in prisons or rehabilitation centers
Most forensic nurses have major roles in the following venues: special hospital units, offices of the medical examiners or coroners, law enforcement agencies, social service units of the government, and other related institutions. This new field has indeed opened more doors for all nurses worldwide.
A forensic nursing association plays a big role in the development of this very significant aspect of forensics, judicial, and medical systems in the society. These groups could be the best media to assist in the fight against violence and crimes.