The Emergence of Forensic Nursing and Advanced Nursing Practice in Switzerland: An Innovative Case Study Consultation

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Abstract

Background and methods:

The objectives of this article were to systematically describe and examine the novel roles and responsibilities assumed by nurses in a forensic consultation for victims of violence at a University Hospital in French-speaking Switzerland. Utilizing a case study methodology, information was collected from two main sources: (a) discussion groups with nurses and forensic pathologists and (b) a review of procedures and protocols. Following a critical content analysis, the roles and responsibilities of the forensic nurses were described and compared with the seven core competencies of advanced nursing practice as outlined by Hamric, Spross, and Hanson (2009).

Results:

Advanced nursing practice competencies noted in the analysis included “direct clinical practice,” “coaching and guidance,” and “collaboration.” The role of the nurse in terms of “consultation,” “leadership,” “ethics,” and “research” was less evident in the analysis.

Discussion and conclusion:

New forms of nursing are indeed practiced in the forensic clinical setting, and our findings suggest that nursing practice in this domain is following the footprints of an advanced nursing practice model. Further reflections are required to determine whether the role of the forensic nurse in Switzerland should be developed as a clinical nurse specialist or that of a nurse practitioner.

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