The need for trauma care and forensic services is among the top five reasons for seeking healthcare in the United States. Critical aspects of caring for a forensic patient include early recognition of the need for implementing forensic approaches to care: assessment, evidence collection and preservation, and forensic documentation. The intent of this study was to examine fundamental forensic knowledge and perceived ability of graduate-level emergency nurse practitioner students.
The study was designed to assess fundamental forensic knowledge of graduate-level emergency nurse practitioners
using a pretest-and-posttest prospective design utilizing simulation
Students showed an increase in their knowledge of forensic nursing
concepts from pretest to posttest (t
(39) = 9.63, p
< 0.001). In addition, there was an increase in students' perceived ability (confidence) to recognize the forensic aspects of patient care. Two unexpected findings were revealed during debriefing. Although the students were interested in gaining forensic knowledge, they felt it was more important to know when to refer a patient rather than to gain the requisite knowledge to perform forensic functions on their own. Furthermore, students developed an awareness of how their previous clinical experiences influenced their care.
Findings from this study will inform further development of graduate-level nursing education
to include forensic and multidisciplinary simulation