quinta-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2011

Forensic Nursing: Evidence Collection for Nurses: Going to Court

The nurse who applies forensic principles by recognizing and preserving the evidence must also be able to present him or herself at trial. Patients who have been victims of a violent act deserve to have healthcare providers who are prepared and capable witnesses. One of the purposes of their testimony is to authenticate evidence that was collected in the healthcare setting and verify the chain of custody.
Medicolegal testimony can be a stressful professional experience. Juries are human and are often quick to judge witnesses based on how they dress, how they speak, make eye contact, and their perceived sincerity in the courtroom. Cases can be decided on the credibility of witnesses. Speaking directly to the jury in understandable language conveys honesty to jurors. In addition, Cashman and Benak offer these tips to witnesses:
Listen carefully to questions; answer only the questions that are asked.
Consider your response before speaking.
Avoid offering additional information unless clarification is needed.
Preparation is extremely important and begins with a comprehensive assessment and careful evidence collection because the evidence itself and how it was gathered and preserved can be on trial. Nurses work with their institutional risk management departments and prosecuting attorneys to prepare for trial testimony. It is important for the nurse witness and the prosecuting attorney to have the same understanding of the nurse's role and responsibility, appreciation of the evidence, and what the jury needs to hear about that evidence. Individual preparation involves reviewing the case record to avoid fumbling for information during testimony.

International Association of Forensic Nurses