Effective collaboration among specialists from different healthcare units enables better patient outcomes. To achieve such beneficial cooperation, the understanding of varieties between nursing roles is required. Advanced practice nursing (APN) is justly regarded as one of the most crucial divisions in healthcare settings. The professionals working in this direction are highly skilled and can perform a number of roles related to improving patient outcomes. However, new specialties, which have emerged and evolved recently, need to be assimilated by APN professionals to make sure that the process of health care is complete. Forensic nursing is one of the specialties that have evolved in a different direction from APN.
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Forensic nursing has developed in a direction different from APN due to its close focus on legal aspects of the profession. Previously, forensic nursing was not recognized as a formal nursing practice (Amar & Sekula, 2016).
However, a modern view of this healthcare area is different. The practice is now recognized as a crucial specialty, and the professional duties of forensic nurses are defined as different from APNs’ ones. Forensic nursing emerged in the USA in the middle of the 20th century (Amar & Sekula, 2016). At first, it was considered only as physicians’ domain, but later, it started involving nurses, as well. Forensic nurse specialists perform a variety of roles, including a sexual assault nurse examiner, a legal nurse attorney, a forensic psychiatric and correctional nurse, and a risk manager.
Key Differences in the Evolution
The main distinction between forensic nurses’ and APNs’ divisions is their scope of practice. Schober (2016) describes the major requirement to APN specialists as the application of evidence-based practice knowledge and clinical management proficiency with the aim of giving appropriate care to patients. What concerns forensic nurses, their first task is identifying the cause of a patient’s injury (Cucu, Daniel, Paduraru, & Galan, 2014).
A distinctive feature of forensic nurses’ duties is their readiness to work with people who have suffered from violence or disasters. The second large difference between the two branches of nursing is their educational preparation (Amar & Sekula, 2016; Schober, 2016). Unlike APNs, forensic nursing specialists do not have to complete a doctoral program. However, they need to be certified in a sexual assault nurse examination and hold a degree in forensic nursing to be eligible for the position.
The Future Vision and Unique Challenges
Both of the specialties under analysis have a promising future vision due to their utmost significance. It is predicted that the APN direction will constantly evolve to include emerging trends in health care. As for forensic nursing, it is expected that these professionals will be required to widen their educational horizons so as to collaborate with APNs more effectively. The vision of both trends is promising, and it may be assumed that APNs and forensic nurses will gain more independence in the future. What concerns challenges in the state, it is impossible to single out some unique issues. In all states of the USA, the promotion of cooperative relationships is likely to be affected by political and social changes. Thus, the promotion of effective cooperation will require adjustment to the alterations of this kind.
It is impossible to overestimate the role of advanced practice and forensic nurses in the process of patient care. The investigation of both directions makes it possible to deduce that their cooperation is needed to obtain better patient outcomes. When APNs and forensic nurses gain the realization of one another’s duties and scope of practice, they will be able to work together in the direction of gaining the highest level of patient satisfaction.
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Amar, A. F., & Sekula, L. K. (2016). A practical guide to forensic nursing: Incorporating forensic principles into nursing practice. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.
Cucu, A., Daniel, I., Paduraru, D., & Galan, A. (2014). Forensic nursing emergency care. Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine, 22(2), 133-136.
Schober, M. (2016). Introduction to advanced nursing practice: An international focus. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.