Getting to know the LE world

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    I'm actively pursuing a career in Forensic Nursing. I've already have enough knowledge on it and know how to get certification in my state. My question is, do you recommend getting experience with police officers/ those in Law Enforcement? If you have, what types of things did you do? Have you done ride alongs with police officers? If so, what questions have you asked? I've looked around in this thread, but I've also looked around other sites, and some recommend getting to know your local police officers/law enforcement agency's.

    Thanks for your responses!
  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Quote from ForensicMI
    I'm actively pursuing a career in Forensic Nursing. I've already have enough knowledge on it and know how to get certification in my state. My question is, do you recommend getting experience with police officers/ those in Law Enforcement? If you have, what types of things did you do? Have you done ride alongs with police officers? If so, what questions have you asked? I've looked around in this thread, but I've also looked around other sites, and some recommend getting to know your local police officers/law enforcement agency's.

    Thanks for your responses!
    Hello and Welcome to allnurses.com

    Good to have you with us.

    Sounds like a good idea to ride along with LE. You should pursue that. I've not done this personally, but do advise it.

    Good luck with your plans as Forensic nurse and if you have other questions, please post here.

    Hope you enjoy allnurses.com!!
  4. 0
    Originally Posted by ForensicMI
    I'm actively pursuing a career in Forensic Nursing. I've already have enough knowledge on it and know how to get certification in my state. My question is, do you recommend getting experience with police officers/ those in Law Enforcement? If you have, what types of things did you do? Have you done ride alongs with police officers? If so, what questions have you asked? I've looked around in this thread, but I've also looked around other sites, and some recommend getting to know your local police officers/law enforcement agency's.

    Thanks for your responses
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear ForensicMI,

    Without knowing more about how you're pursuing your career in Forensic Nursing, I'm going to pose some Q&A for you to think about and my responses.

    Before I do so, I want to be clear that I am not trying to be a smart aleck, but to respond with experience, of which I have much.

    1. How are you pursuing your career in FN? What certification are you going for? Where?

    2. How are you measuring that you have enough knowledge?
    I have been practicing FN for almost 21 years and still learn something every day. Each case brings new knowledge or a desire to research something that came up that I felt I didn't know enough about. I think that's one of the things we who are interested in FN have in common, a thirst for knowledge, a hunger for more. If you do any work with LE, I would advise not telling them that you have enough knowledge. That statement could put their backs up right from the start and limit how much you can learn from them. However, if you go in with the attitude that THEY have a lot to teach YOU, you will earn their respect, give them an invisible pat on the back and you will learn so much more.

    3. Do you already work as an RN? What area do you work in?
    You will encounter forensic applications to patient care in every area of health care, all along the continuum. The ability to recognize forensic patients when you see them is a key part of being a forensic nurse. Did you know that a large majority of women who seek emergency care are victims of abuse? An old statistic is 55%! Over 50% female homicides are a result of domestic violence,
    staggering statistics and mine are old stats.

    4. Is LE present in your daily work, such as in the ED?
    If so, I would talk to them every time they come in. Buddy up to them to them, if you will. I would be asking what do you think happened here? How can I as a nurse, help you to do your job? If the crime scene team comes in, watch how they collect evidence. If the photographer comes in, ask about the pictures they take. Did you know that when a victim of shooting comes into the ED and resuscitation is unsuccessful, that body is now a crime scene and should be treated as such? Did you know that you should protect that body when the family goes in to see the deceased and wants to lay on them and cry so the grieving process can begin?

    I would definitely recommend getting involved with LE, depending on your answers to the questions above. There are so many facets to FN that it's a bit difficult to adequately cover all of them.

    Other things to do are:
    Take a tour of the coroner's office.
    Take SANE training.
    Take a tour of the police station. Go to community police meetings. Volunteer with either of them. Once you start to develop a relationship with them, and they see your real interest by asking intelligent questions, they will begin to respect you and see you as being a Forensic Nurse who can partner with them in the fight for truth and justice. It has been said that Forensics is the intersection of medicine and law.

    I hope my little speech here has sparked some more questions for you to ask and I look forward to helping answer them.

    Good luck in your new career!

    KC007
  5. 0
    To KC4NSICRN

    Sorry I didn't see your post until now,

    I'm a current pre-nursing student. Once I get into the nursing program through my college, I plan on working in the ER for two years or so. I've been in contact with a Forensics Nurse thanks to finding out through local law enforcement agencies. I went to a seminar of hers and learned a lot of information. In my state, the only way to get certification is through conferences that state police, medical examiners, medical personnel and others put on. I feel I have knowledge on HOW to get my certification as a Forensic Nurse, not necessarily evidence collection, testimony, etc. Although, I do know that everyday is not the same and ever case is different. It never is routine, just like a traffic stop. (Misunderstanding in my writing, sorry).

    Did you know that when a victim of shooting comes into the ED and resuscitation is unsuccessful, that body is now a crime scene and should be treated as such? Yes. Many things such as this statement were covered in the conference/seminar that I attended.

    While I am only a pre-nursing student, I'm trying to get as much experience in this career that I will be pursuing upon getting my RN license. I've done ride alongs, with those who have knowledge in evidence collection. I am so happy that I am allowed to be able to be able to ask questions and actually gain the experience right in front of my eyes. They thought that I asked good questions. One even showed me the aftermath of a crime scene and I thought it was very interesting. It intrigued me so much, that I kept asking questions about certain things that I saw. The officer gladly answered all my questions.

    Take a tour of the coroner's office: This is something that I plan on doing very soon. I've in contact with who I need to be in contact with.
    Take SANE training: I plan on getting my Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training once I get my RN license.

    Thanks for your input on my post. It's much appreciated. I wish there was a way to job shadow a Forensic Nurse, but due to the nature of the career, it's not allowed.
  6. 0
    Re: Job shadowing

    When I was working at a trauma center as a forensic nurse, I had students shadow me on the job. It was a great learning experience for them as I went about the normal activities of my day. Both of us learned!

    One day, we had a great learning experience as an in custody death came into our ER as a code allegedly from a diabetic episode. Oh, the learning that took place that day! While I in no way mean to sound disrespectful, here you have a patient who came to us with CPR in progress, the code was unsuccessful. So in a teaching hospital, you are presented with a learning opportunity, and we should take this opportunity to learn something that might help another. Do you agree?

    With my shadow student and the other ER nurses close by and the curtains to the code cube closed for privacy, an inspection of the body was undertaken. We found ligature marks around her ankles! Ok, what does this tell you? Was she tied to the bed in the prison infirmary? Were these marks from ankle shackles?

    It is not up to us to say how it happened, just to observe that these marks are present. We discussed the possibilities and it was a learning experience for everyone, from the observation of evidence, to the documentation in the nursing notes. We were able to correctly report this to the coroner and the investigation had an element to it that would have been lacking if we had not noted this important observation.

    This, then led to looking into a practice that had been in place for years at our facility, the tying of hands and feet together prior to placing the body in the morgue bag. Formerly, we had used only shrouds to perform our post mortem care and the tying of extremities was used to create a smaller package to enshroud. With the purchase and use of the zippered morgue bags, we no longer needed to use the tying method, which by itself can steer an in-custody death investigation in a whole new mistaken direction.

    Thus, I began the process of changing the policy on post mortem care and removed the gauze ties from the morgue packs altogether. The change in policy required in servicing of all units, therefore requiring my services as the forensic nurse even more.

    If you place what I have just written into an algorithm, you can see the impact that having a forensic nurse in house can make a difference and the education and better outcomes that can follow.
    What do you think?

    I think you are on the right track with the experiences you are getting with LE! In fact, I'm kind of wishing I was there! Good luck and let us know how you progress.
  7. 0
    I would like to expound(who me? expound? lol, yes, me) on something I was writing about above, the case of the in-custody death with ligature marks around her ankles. As you may realize, forensic nurses are there to document what we see in that situation. In-custody deaths are mandatory coroner's cases, and thus must be reported as well as your observations of the ligatures. Why are these automatic coroner's cases? one reason is to protect the rights of the prisoner but another is to protect the facility. Finding the truth is what matters:
    Did the patient have these ligature marks when she entered the jail?
    OR did they occur because the jail restarined her?
    I just wanted to point out the two possible opposing causes.
  8. 0
    Quote from ForensicMI
    To KC4NSICRN

    Sorry I didn't see your post until now,

    I'm a current pre-nursing student. Once I get into the nursing program through my college, I plan on working in the ER for two years or so. I've been in contact with a Forensics Nurse thanks to finding out through local law enforcement agencies. I went to a seminar of hers and learned a lot of information. In my state, the only way to get certification is through conferences that state police, medical examiners, medical personnel and others put on. I feel I have knowledge on HOW to get my certification as a Forensic Nurse, not necessarily evidence collection, testimony, etc. Although, I do know that everyday is not the same and ever case is different. It never is routine, just like a traffic stop. (Misunderstanding in my writing, sorry).

    Did you know that when a victim of shooting comes into the ED and resuscitation is unsuccessful, that body is now a crime scene and should be treated as such? Yes. Many things such as this statement were covered in the conference/seminar that I attended.

    While I am only a pre-nursing student, I'm trying to get as much experience in this career that I will be pursuing upon getting my RN license. I've done ride alongs, with those who have knowledge in evidence collection. I am so happy that I am allowed to be able to be able to ask questions and actually gain the experience right in front of my eyes. They thought that I asked good questions. One even showed me the aftermath of a crime scene and I thought it was very interesting. It intrigued me so much, that I kept asking questions about certain things that I saw. The officer gladly answered all my questions.

    Take a tour of the coroner's office: This is something that I plan on doing very soon. I've in contact with who I need to be in contact with.
    Take SANE training: I plan on getting my Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training once I get my RN license.

    Thanks for your input on my post. It's much appreciated. I wish there was a way to job shadow a Forensic Nurse, but due to the nature of the career, it's not allowed.
    Hi Forensic MI-

    One way that you may be able to "shadow" a forensic nurse might be through your local Rape Crisis Counseling Center. I volunteered as a Rape Crisis Advocate (in another life when I was a Psychology student) for awhile and was able to learn alot about the various responsibilities of a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) by supporting the survivor of rape through the rape kit. If this is something your're interested in, I can give you more information about my role as a Rape Crisis Advocate...just PM me!

    GL in school!
  9. 0
    Hello wsuchic1

    I never considered going to the Rape Crisis Counseling Center. Perhaps I shall, because training goes on at the place once a year that I'm aware of.

    PM'ing you now!

    Thanks for your response.
  10. 0
    Hello wsuchic1

    If you could send me a PM, as I currently don't have the ability to do so yet (newly member). Thank you!
  11. 0
    Hi Forensic MI-

    I just sent you a PM to tell you more about my experience as a Rape Crisis Advocate.


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