FORENSIC NURSING IN NIGERIA
Forensic Nursing which is defined as the application of the nursing process to public or legal precedings, and the application of forensic healthcare in the scientific investigation of human trauma and or death related to abuse, violence, criminal activity, liability and accidents has become very necessary and a serious course for application in Nigeria.
Before their was a specialty recognized as forensic nursing, the term used was clinical Forensic Medicine. This term thus describes the use of clinical practices to support judicial proceedings to protect a victim, usually after death has occurred. It was not until 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 speciality recognized and helped to form programs in the U.S for proper education. In the 1980s articles were been written about how important evidence needed to build a legal case was not being preserved during treatment of a victim. From there began an explanation of the nurse’s in not just Forensic Medicine but also the criminal Justice system when dealing with a victim of violence.
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Therefore NIGERIA being a developing country has seen the need to adopt the teaching, training and practice or application if Forensic Nursing. Most nurses practice with the holistic frame work of the body, mind and spirit. With Forensic nursing established, the role of a nurse was altered to include the law.
The science of forensic nursing represents an emerging world view in the future of the Forensic sciences as crime and violence bring together, the two most powerful systems affecting the lives of people throughout the world. Health and Justice. (Lynch, 2011)
Forensic Nursing sciences combines the principles and philosophies of the traditional Forensic sciences and those of contemporary nursing science in the clinical investigation of crime related trauma and death. Every injury, illness or death can have Forensic implications. Forensic nursing demands superb assessment skills, second only to a high degree of suspicion. Therefore a solid Forensic education in Nigeria for nurses will provide a vital link in the development of clinical acumen required for responding to these Forensic circumstances.
What Is a Forensic Nurse.
A Forensic Nurse is someone who works with crime victims to gathered medical evidence and provide expert testimony that can be used in court. Forensic Nursing is a unique specialty that blends the worlds of nursing, science and legal system. According to the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), Forensic do far more than address victims’ physical and emotional needs. They also collect evidence, provide medical testimony in court, and consult with legal authorities. Because nurses are skilled in effective communication, assessment, and do cumentation, they are the perfect professionals to fill forensic roles.
The Need For Forensic Nursing I Nigeria
Due to the absence of forensic knowledge in traditional Nursing education, Forensic circumstances are equally overlooked and evidence is lost or discarded. Therefore a Forensic Nurse examiner is needed on each shift to provide an immediate Forensic response to trauma/emergency and eliminating long delay or transfer of the patient.
The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) is identified as an exceedingly skilled healthcare professional, educated in the concept of nursing and forensic sciences. FNEs practice in a variety of professional roles, in which they are trained.
Roles Of a Forensic Nurse:
Forensic nurses bridge the gap between law and medicine by working with victims of crimes to gather medical evidence and provide expert testimony that can be used in court.
- They help in providing comfort and psychological support to victims of violent crimes and their families/significant others
- . Treating physical injuries
- . Collecting and preserving evidence that’s admissible i Court e.g, victims clothing, bullet (s), and other physical samples)
- . Assessment of alleged perpetrators and collecting evidence as indicated.
Working Opportunities For Forensic Nurses In Nigeria.
Forensic nurses can work in hospitals, anti violence programs, psychiatric Institutions, coroner’s and medical examiners’ offices, communities (after natural disasters), and correctional facilities.
Forensic Nursing is a new and emerging field. As long as there is a crime, there will be an ongoing need for these types of nurses. It is speculated that forensic nursing will be one of the fastest-growing field in nursing profession due to their specialty. Thus considering the rate at which crimes are increasing in Nigeria and the Smartness of the criminals; Forensic Nursing education should be incorporated and highly encouraged without thinking twice into the Nigerian Nursing Education System.