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About Forensic Exams

The Forensic Nursing Unit follows a detailed process of evaluation to provide comprehensive and timely service. This process involves four steps: a thorough evaluation by the triage nurse; a full medical screening exam; office registration process; a complete forensic exam by a forensic nurse.

Step 1

During the initial evaluation, the triage nurse determines the reason for the patient's visit, obtains vital signs and documents medical history.

The nurse makes sure police have been notified. If the patient has not reported the incident to the police, the triage nurse can call. Reporting does not mean that a patient must proceed with the investigation, but police must be notified in order for evidence to be collected.

Even if police are not notified, a patient will receive medical treatment, with priority being determined by medical need.

Step 2

Your medical screening exam will be performed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. This exam ensures your medical needs are met and any injuries requiring medical attention are addressed.

Step 3

Registration with the medical staff requires basic information including name, date of birth, address, phone number and insurance information.

A person does not need insurance to receive treatment. If treated by the forensic nurse, that portion of the exam will be paid for by the law enforcement agency that requested the examination. Other medical expenses will be billed to patient or patient's insurance.

Step 4

During a forensic nurse exam, the process and procedure will be explained, with consent required from the patient. After taking a detailed history, the examiner will complete a forensic assessment and document injuries and condition.

Forensic evidence will be collected for processing by law enforcement, and any preventive medication will be administered. The patient will also receive referral numbers or social services consult as needed.