The Birth of Forensic Nursing
Written by Daria Waszak, MSN, RN, CEN, COHN-S   

How Virginia A. Lynch's determination to stop clinicians from unintentionally obstructing justice inspired a new nursing specialty.

When Virginia A. Lynch, MSN, RN, FAAFS, FAAN, walked into her first crime laboratory, the Star Wars-like equipment, pulsing lights, smells of paint and formaldehyde, and evidence, such as weapons, blood and teeth didn't scare her away; it left her intrigued and inspired.

"It was a moment that will forever be imprinted in my mind," Lynch said. "Curiosity turned to fascination, and I couldn't learn enough or fast enough," Lynch said. "My interest became a preoccupation and evolved into a passion. I became a regular visitor of the crime laboratory, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know."

Her obsession with forensics ultimately unfolded a paradigm shift, namely, a whole new nursing specialty called forensic nursing.

This unique opportunity to visit the crime lab took place in Texas in 1982 and grew out of her observations as an emergency nurse. Lynch noticed how evidence, such as clothing, specimens, records or personal items were often lost, discarded or returned to family instead of secured and handed over to authorities.

"When I asked the police if the person who abused, raped or killed these patients would be caught and punished, they told me it was unlikely because the doctors and nurses lost and destroyed the evidence," she said. "It had never occurred to me that the healthcare professions were unintentionally obstructing justice."

Read the full article here.

Source: Advance for Nurses

 
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