A Practical Guide to Forensic Nursing: Incorporating forensic principles into nursing practice

Not one to buy, but worth borrowing from a library if time permits - 3/5

3 stars

George Bernard Shaw described Britons and Americans as ‘divided by a common language’, and that is made very clear in this fascinating publication which describes in depth the roles and responsibilities of forensic nurses in the United States.

However, these duties do not reflect those of nurses working in forensic or secure settings in the United Kingdom. Their work is primarily with mentally disordered offenders (be it in hospital, prison, police cells or elsewhere) but this book addresses the application of the nursing process in the scientific investigation of violent and sexual crimes.

Chapters include the neurobiology of trauma, assessments of wounds, & murder, assault and battery. Graphic images of wounds and other physical trauma highlight points made in the text.

There are some areas of overlap, which may be of limited interest to UK based forensic nurses, such as theories of crime. The chapter on forensic mental health nursing comes closest to being useful here, describing competency, sanity and the impact of the ‘McNaughton rules’.

For its target audience, the book is well written, and thoughtfully laid out.

Chapters are well structured, sub-divided and easy to understand. I found it to be a fascinating read, but more from a point of professional curiosity than usefulness. Not one to buy, but worth borrowing from a library if time permits.

Angela F. Amar and L.  Kathleen Sekula | Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing | 392pp | US$59.95 | ISBN: 9781940446349

Reviewed by Dave King, clinical nurse specialist in forensic mental health, The Humber Centre for Forensic Psychiatry

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