An Introduction to Forensic Nursing

The role of a forensic nurse examiner is a relatively new role in the health care system. It most likely attracts those nurses that like the excitement and challenge that this role presents. As the forensic nurse she will find herself in the inner sanctum of a crime scene, a highly intense situation. The role of a forensic nurse is well defined and her professional contribution will be critical to the outcome.

While the forensic nurse assists a victim of a crime and provides the emotional support needed , she will have to possess the skills required to collect evidence from the victims of sexual crimes. She must have the skills to collect and preserve the evidence. As well as to treat both the psychological and physical trauma of the victim. As there is only a 72 hour window for the collection of this delicate evidence . The forensic nurse will be using extreme sensitivity as not to further traumatize the victim that she is caring for . She will be considered the patients advocate in a court of law if needed. She will be combining the law with health care.

The forensic nurse must have developed skills necessary to interpret body language in communication, identify body trauma , and interpret medical records. As some victims will have been so traumatized they have difficulty sharing this information. Along with other nursing staff she will be caring for the crime victim.

In addition to being a registered nurse, she will need to qualify for a SANE- A [ sexual assault nurse examiner} certificate for adolescent adult victims or a SANE- P for pediatric victims. With renewals for this certification every three years. Forensic nurses are gaining new recognition in the court system as reliable sources of evidence.

According to the International Association of Forensic Nursing in addition to the education required for becoming a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. She must have demonstrated a refined knowledge and possess critical thinking skills in her clinical practice.

Most courses for the SANE -certification require additional academic requirements in crisis intervention, medical assessments, treatment of injuries, collection and preservation of evidence. Candidates must have the knowledge related to anatomy/ physiology and forensic terminology . Additional training in specific photography and use of blue dye technique.

Because of the nature of the program courses are usually located within health care systems. Depending on your location and your role as a SANE you may expect to make a salary between $41,0000- $ 65,000 annually if full time. Because of the need for cost containment. It may mean that most roles for the SANE will be -on call positions. Or working independently with hospitals and law enforcement agencies.

The Forensic nurse may find employment in :

*Medical examiners office *Law enforcement agencies *Social service departments
*Specialized hospital units *correctional systems *Gerontology specialization *Nurse coroner/ death investigation *legal nurse consulting

The most important role of the forensic nurse is that of patient advocate. While assisting in the physical and emotional recovery of the victims, she must as well be protecting their rights.