A forensic psychiatric nurse is a professional who is specialized in dealing with individuals having or suspected to have a mental illness, accused of violent crimes and those having behavioral or psychological disorders. This nurse uses his or her medical training skills to assess the well-being of the victims of a crime, assist in the rehabilitation of those individuals who have committed serious crimes and act as an expert or consultant to help the law enforcement officers solve the case during criminal proceedings (Crane, 2010). You are most likely to find this professional in law enforcement agencies, prisons, mental treatment or state-run correctional facilities and juvenile detention centers where he or she spends all the working hours treating and interacting patients having mental problems. This paper sets to give a detailed discussion of various roles and functions of the forensic psychiatric nurse.
Roles and functions of the Forensic Psychiatric Nurses
A Forensic Psychiatric Nurse plays numerous roles in the United States and other parts of the world (Crane, 2010). For instance:
Assist in Evaluating Offenders
Before any suspect is transferred to a correctional facility or county jail, he or she may be taken to a temporary facility where a forensic psychiatric nurse evaluates him or her. Once in the temporary installation, the forensic psychiatric nurse embarks on the role of assessing the mental status of such an individual with the aim of finding out whether such a person poses a threat to the public or not (Stevens, 2016). This nurse will have a primary focus on evaluating the possibility of this offender committing suicide or causing violence. According to the surveys, there have been numerous cases of inmates killing their fellow partners in prison due to their mental status which was not initially noted when they were being locked up with the others to serve their sentences. For this reason, the government has introduced policies that make it a requirement for prisoners to be evaluated by the forensic psychiatric nurses so as to avoid such incidents now and in future. Once it is discovered that an inmate poses the risk of hurting other prisoners, he or she is placed in a maximum security institution or solitary confinement (Fortinash & Holoday-Worret, 2012). The forensic psychiatric nurses through their evaluation activities may discover inmates who may have suicidal thoughts. Once found, they are placed on a strict suicide watch where they are regularly monitored by both the doctors and the guards to ensure that they do not commit such acts.
Assist in Police Investigation by Talking to the Victims
The forensic psychiatric nurses have the skills needed to speak to the victims of a crime in such a way that they do not evoke rebellion from them or inflict more fear and emotional distress. A forensic psychiatric nurse plays a great role in talking to the severely traumatized victims with the aim of extracting a detailed account of the events that have taken place on the victim. Criminal cases relating to sensitive issues such as sexual assault can only be solved with the help of the forensic psychiatric nurse who possesses the needed skills to make victims of such incidents feel safe enough to fully recount all the things that have happened to them during the criminal act (Stevens, 2016). Most of the people do not like talking about such issues since they are very humiliating and dehumanizing enough to destroy their self-confidence fully. By using their professional skills, the forensic psychiatric nurses can obtain the full recount of the criminal event hence helping the law enforcement officers to bring the offenders involved in such crimes to justice.
Counseling Victims and Their Families
The forensic psychiatric nurse plays a remarkable role in providing counseling services to the families and victims of the crime to help them handle and understand the traumatic nature of the criminal investigation involved and also cope with the trauma of the offense (Hammer, Moynihan & Pagliaro, 2013).
Testifies in Court
Forensic psychiatric nurses play the role of testifying during legal proceedings whereby they are required to give a professional account of the findings that they get after evaluating the both the offenders and the victims of the crimes to help the judge make a right ruling in the case at hand (Hammer, Moynihan & Pagliaro, 2013). These nurses can provide a professional report of their findings after evaluating both the offenders and victims through the numerous lengthy interviews that they have with their subjects. These discussions help in determining the impacts of the crime on the victims and the factors that may have contributed to the offender committing such a crime and whether the suspect is remorseful for his or her actions or not.
Determining the Medication
The forensic psychiatric nurses closely work with social workers, pharmacists, and physicians in determining the right treatment to administer to the individuals having the mental problems (Fortinash & Holoday-Worret, 2012). These nurses through their medical skills diagnose the victims and the offenders of a crime so as to determine the right kind of medication and therapy to give them.
The forensic psychiatric nurses who have advanced experience in their work play a great role in educating students in colleges and universities on the various issues that are related to this profession (Stevens, 2016). These nurses help in nurturing those students who have the passion and willingness to join this career path in future by preparing them for the various tasks involved. The experienced forensic psychiatric nurses can provide quality education to such students through the long experience that they have in the many years that they have been in this profession.
The government should formulate policies that help forensic psychiatric nurses conduct their roles efficiently.
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