So you are thinking about your career or next career as a nurse. Your first hurtle is to pass the Nursing Entrance Test, the HESI or the TEAS TEST. The next step is nursing school. What then? Well, there are many avenues that nurses can take other than hospital or long term care nursing. There is the field of professional nurse medical expert.
The primary role of the nurse medical expert is to offer up their opinion to the jury in a fair and balanced manner. Nurses with specialty experience and training are more often called in as medical experts in many cases. This is a upcoming field in the realm known as forensic nursing. Forensic nursing is a relatively new medical practice that combines elements of law enforcement with health care. Forensic nurses may treat victims of violent crime, perform crime scene investigations or work as detectives in a clinical setting to help police catch and convict perpetrators. One of the most important duties in forensic nursing is assisting in the physical and emotional recovery of patients while protecting their rights. The wealth and breadth of nursing experience in their field of specialty is widely accepted as testimony. Nurses are used in hotly contested legal proceedings, both sides have bias and both want to win. The goal of the nurse medical expert is to showcase his or her knowledge in an impartial way. However, this is difficult in some cases, especially since each side often hires its own medical expert, and the medical expert is collecting his paycheck from the attorney, who has a clear and strong bias.
Nurse Medical experts are known to charge hefty rates for their services. In most trials, they are on the stand for only a few hours, but many charge as much as $1,000 an hour for their services, meaning the bill can add up very quick. And that hourly rate is often charged even while the medical expert is waiting to testify. Because of the lucrative nature of the position, many nurse medical experts leave their day jobs to enter this industry, simply because of great amount of money involved. However the job is very stressful and the nurse medical expert is faced with the worst of human atrocities. Forensic nursing schools prepare students to confront extreme human behavior. In other words, forensic nurses have to ‘maintain their cool’ under pressure and comfort victims while gathering and handling evidence. Because victims of violent crime are often brought into the emergency room (ER) for treatment, forensic nurses work there on their own teams, set apart from other ER staff so that they can devote the necessary time to each patient and perform thorough examinations. Patients are not always willing to come forward after experiencing a sexual or abusive crime, so forensic nurses may be required to read into the actions, medical histories and markings on the body of their patients to decipher the truth and present this in a trial.
The size of the trial often does not make much of a difference when it comes to demand for nurse medical experts. Even smaller trials might use them, especially if there is some sort of injury alleged to be committed by a suspect. In that case, District attorney’s offices often use the nurse medical expert to document the evidence. This gives the jury an expert vision on the injury, one that is not biased by the attorney’s presentation. Nurse Medical experts used by district attorney’s offices are often already county employees. Most are Nurse forensic experts who already collect a paycheck from the local government for which they are employed. These kinds of experts don’t have the luxury of charging the steep rates that those in the private industry charge.
Despite the high dollar rates, bias from a medical expert can come from either side. Even the government-employed experts can have bias, perhaps based on their close relationships with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney. Bias is even more existent from the other side, most commonly the defense side, because of the money involved. There are some cases where the nurse medical expert puts their reputation on the line and the jury does not agree with their position.
Can’t wait to begin your career in nursing? Then start today. Begin preparing for the nursing entrance test at The Nurses Learning Center. Here you will find all of the information that you need to raise your scores to levels that will help put you on the nursing school waiting list at the top.