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Forensic Nursing: An Aid to Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 75 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2006 Pages: 7-12
Joseph R. Yost; Tod W. Burke Ph.D.
Date Published
February 2006
6 pages
This article describes the relatively new profession of forensic nursing.
The high demand for forensic nurses is expected to continue as the law enforcement community increasingly recognizes the need for their expertise. Forensic nurses are invaluable to the criminal justice system because they provide a much needed link between medicine and the law. Specially trained in such procedures as evidence collection and preservation, wound identification, law enforcement investigation, documentation procedures, and chain of custody, forensic nurses do far more than tend to the wounds of crime and trauma victims and offenders. Forensic nursing is a relatively new field that was founded in 1992 by a group of sexual assault nurses who came together to form the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN). As of 2004, the IAFN counted over 2,400 forensic nurses among its members. The authors describe seven specialties within forensic nursing, focusing on their duties and the type of training required: sexual assault nurse examiners, forensic correctional nurses, forensic geriatric nurses, forensic legal nurse consultants, forensic nurse investigators, forensic pediatric nurses, and forensic psychiatric nurses. All forensic nurses must first become Registered Nurses (RNs) before completing additional training in one of the forensic nursing specialties. All forensic nurses are expected to adhere to the rules of evidence collection and preservation and to maintain the chain of custody to ensure admissibility in a court of law. Endnotes