When a crime occurs and critical evidence needs to be removed from the victim in order to bring the offender to justice, a forensic nurse is called in to successfully collect evidence and submit it to authorities. There are many different aspects that encompass this type of nursing career including both patient care and expert testimony in court proceedings. In addition to the standard college degree required to become a registered nurse, a forensic nurse must also participate in the sexual assault certification courses to be fully qualified to work in the field of forensics. This course provides education that pertains to both the successful collection of evidence as well as how to deal with the criminal justice system.
Patient care aspect
The patient care aspect that a forensic nurse must complete includes determining if a patient was in fact the victim of a crime as well as the collection of any. This is a very important part of both the nurse’s job as well as justice for the patient. If evidence is not collected properly, the criminal case can be jeopardized; therefore, the collection of any evidence must be completed in a way that is acceptable by the court system. Additionally, this job requires a standard of care that promotes peace for the patient. The nurse must be able to be gentle with patients that may be uncooperative or upset because of the crime that was just committed against them.
Criminal justice aspect
There is an additional aspect to the role of the forensic nurse on top of providing patient care which deals with the criminal justice system. In this role, the nurse may be required to attend court proceedings and serve as an expert witness. The forensic nurse may need to provide details such as the patient’s condition as well as the method in which evidence was collected and handled. A successful nurse in the field of forensics must be well-educated in the medical viewpoint and the criminal justice one as well.
Prospective and current nurses who constantly see crime come into the emergency room may feel that they want to do more to help their patients; these are the types of nurses who can become successful in the capacity of forensic nursing. They want to remain in the medical field but they also want a career in criminal justice where they are able to help investigators determine the culprit that has caused injury to the patient. The additional training required to become a nurse in forensics does not take much time and can be completed in an online format. If you are already a nurse or are planning on becoming a nurse and want a job that is different than others in the field, a job in forensic nursing could be the career path for you.