On October 25, 2010, the first installment of the Boston College Forensic Nursing Speaker Series took place. The speaker was Julie MacPhee, a risk management specialist for Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH. MacPhee’s lecture consisted of an overview of forensic nursing, what her job entails on a day-to-day basis, and how forensic nursing has prepared her to meet such challenges.

MacPhee’s job as the only risk manager in Catholic Medical Center regularly involves legal, financial, medical, and ethical issues. She must be notified of all errors in which the hospital can be liable, from a visitor spilling soup on his hand in the cafeteria to medical malpractice of all types. Then, she has to quickly make decisions on what the hospital should do to remedy the mistakes. These can include policy creation and development, consultation with attorneys, and more.

MacPhee said that forensic nurses are the perfect liaisons between medicine and law. They are familiar with health care settings and possess knowledge about the criminal justice system. Through this presentation, I had the opportunity to learn more about a nursing specialty and discovered that forensic nursing is a great way to combine compassion and social justice. While forensic nurses perform some duties seen on CSI and other TV shows, such as collecting evidence from victims and testifying in court, they also provide physical care and emotional support for victims. They work to improve the community by deterring illegal actions and helping victims of criminal offenses.

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