Forensic nursing is a nursing specialty concerned with healthcare within a legal context. The International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) notes that it is the application of nursing science to public or legal proceedings whereby a registered nurse is involved in the scientific investigation and treatment of trauma and/or death of victims and perpetrators of abuse, violence, criminal activity and traumatic accidents.
Writing in A Practical Guide to Forensic-Nursing: Incorporating Forensic Principles into Nursing Practice, Dr. L. Kathleen Sekula notes that:
'The earliest example of forensic-nursing practice involved sexual assault nurse examiners' and that 'In the early 1990's, a group of nurses recognized the lack of appropriate care for victims of sexual assault and developed training for nurses to prepare them to properly assess patients, collect evidence, document findings, and interface with the legal system.'
Insightful video produced by Oakland University
Victims of violence are unfortunately ever-present in healthcare today. Regardless of the setting, nurses are often the first to interact with victims and regularly must step into uncomfortable or difficult situations. To ensure patient and provider safety and enable the best possible outcomes, every nurse should be well-versed in forensic and theoretical issues of violence.
A Practical Guide to Forensic-Nursing is an evidence-based guide to understanding and applying forensic nursing science. Authors Angela F. Amar and L. Kathleen Sekula introduce practical and theoretical perspectives on violence and provide valuable resources, including injury assessment and violence prevention strategies as well as an overview of relevant legal, ethical, societal, and policy issues. Whether you are a student, new nurse, or experienced clinician, you will find the right tools and strategies to broaden your understanding of violence and help you integrate forensic science into your patient care.
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