Forensic Nursing Science

Forensic nursing is defined as the application of the nursing process to public or legal proceedings, and the application of forensic health care in the scientific investigation of trauma and/or death related to abuse, violence, criminal activity, liability, and accidents. Before there was a specialty recognized as forensic nursing, the term used was clinical forensic medicine. This term describes the use of clinical practices to support judicial proceedings to protect a victim, usually after death has occurred. It was not until the late 20th century that medical professionals wanted more collaboration between the medical and legal systems. In the United States this problem began to be addressed. A strong advocate for the forensic nursing specialty in United States was Virginia Lynch. She pushed to have the specialty recognized and helped to form programs in the U.S. for proper education. In the 1980s articles were being written about how the important evidence needed to build a legal case was not being preserved during the treatment of a victim. From there began an explanation of the nurse’s role in not just forensic medicine but also the criminal justice system when dealing with a victim of violence. Most nurses practice with the holistic framework of body, mind and spirit. With forensic nursing established, the role of a nurse was altered to also include the law. There has been an establishment of this specialty but it was not created to have nurses become investigators. Their goal is to work with a possible victim and make sure the proper medical but also forensic tasks are accomplished. The forensic evidence is then passed on to the criminal justice system for proper investigation. This specialty has started to be recognized worldwide and is helping to promote an international focus on violence. The nurses are becoming vital resources for the healthy relationship needed between the health and justice systems