Forensic nursing is a new discipline to the Netherlands. Since 2013, a program has been in place to train experienced nurses in several aspects of forensic nursing, including injury assessment and wound documentation, sexual assault examination, assessment of child abuse, death investigation, and primary care for detainees of the police.
The purpose of the study was to provide information on the working environment, self-rated competencies, and practice experiences of forensic nurses after having completed the program.
In 2017, an online questionnaire was developed by the researchers and distributed among the 114 Dutch forensic nurses who had completed the program.
Eighty-three nurses responded to the questionnaire, resulting in a 73% response rate. Nurses who practiced in the emergency and ambulance sector or as pediatric nurses continued to work in these roles after having finished the program. Upon completion of the program, more nurses were employed at sexual assault centers. Overall, respondents indicated that they felt competent with performing forensic nursing tasks. Respondents had a positive outlook of their work as forensic nurses, with a large majority seeing possibilities for further expansion of their roles (87%). Forty-eight percent reported that, at times, they experienced resistance to their involvement with forensic matters from other professionals in their work environments.
Forensic nursing in the Netherlands is an emerging profession. Although its foundation has been established, further developments will only be achieved through collaboration with the wider medical field.