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A forensic nurse is a Registered Nurse who has received specific education and training. Forensic nurses provide specialized care for patients who are experiencing acute and long-term health consequences associated with victimization or violence, and/or have unmet evidential needs relative to having been victimized or accused of victimisation. In addition, forensic nurses provide consultation and testimony for civil and criminal proceedings relative to nursing practice, care given, and opinions rendered regarding findings. Forensic nursing care is not separate and distinct from other forms of medical care, but rather integrated into the overall care needs of individual patients.
Forensic nurses can be found working in a wide variety of fields which include domestic violence, sexual assault, the mistreatment of the elderly, child abuse and neglect, death investigations, various crime investigations, and others. The following are common duties that are carried out by forensic nurses:
A complete additional education and training in legal and forensic sciences is required. Forensic nurses should be skillful and meticulous when it comes to making observations, documentations, and preserving evidence. They should also be knowledgeable in the protocol for death investigations, sexual assault, medical and legal consultations, and psychiatric care.
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