I am a full time forensic nurse at my hospital. It is more than collecting evidence and testifying. As a nurse, I am providing trauma informed, comprehensive nursing care. Evidence collection is secondary to the medical and emotional needs of my patients. My job includes gathering patient history, event history, a head to toe exam including genitalia, photography, and assessment for emergency contraception, STI prophylaxis, HIV and other preventative care. I provide referrals for medical follow up and advocacy. I also make sure the patient has a safe place to stay. This is a hard job and a nurse has to take extra steps to manage stress and do self care. It’s not all swabs and CSI. I also work per diem in my community as a medical examiner. I work alongside law enforcement and forensic pathologists to make cause and manner of death determinations. This is also a hard job. Self care is a must as many forensic nurses leave these jobs after 2-3 years.
Traci, MSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, ME