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

Romain-Glassey, Nathalie MD1; Ninane, Françoise RN, MSc2; de Puy, Jacqueline PhD1; Abt, Maryline RN, DEA3; Mangin, Patrice MD, PhD4; Morin, Diane RN, PhD3,5

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000039
Original Articles

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.

Author Affiliations: 1Violence Medical Unit, University Center of Legal Medicine (CURML), Lausanne University Hospital Center; 2Community Health and Medicine Department (DUMSC), Lausanne University Hospital Center (CURML); 3Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University Institute of Training and Research in Patient Care (IUFRS), University of Lausanne and Lausanne University Hospital Center; 4CURML, Lausanne and Geneva, University Hospital Center; and 5Faculty of Nursing Sciences, Universite Laval.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Diane Morin, RN, PhD, Professor and Head, Institute of Higher Education and Research in Patient Care - IUFRS, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, Lausanne University and Vaud University Hospital Center, Biopole 2, Route de la Corniche 10, Lausanne, Switzerland 1010. E-mail:

Received November 1, 2013; accepted for publication July 6, 2014.

© 2014 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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