Maria Kozlowski-Gibson, PhD, MSN, LL.M, RN, CMSRN, CLNC, draws from her background in law and ethics in her work teaching forensic nursing. Dr. Gibson provides a historical context for the development of this field.
As an assistant professor at Cleveland State University School of Nursing, I teach courses in the forensic track of the Master of Science in Nursing program. Nursing is my second career, which I have built structured on my law and ethics background.
The year of 1995 marked the American Nursing Association’s recognition of forensic nursing as a nursing specialty. Either as experts, consultants, or clinicians, forensic nurses are committed to truth and justice. Impartiality is a crucial characteristic of forensic nurses.
Domicio Ulpiano (170 - 228 AD), who was considered one of the greatest jurists in the history of law, explained that justice is a strong desire to render to each person, continuously and perpetually, what belongs to each one of them. Further, he wrote that jurisprudence is the science of law (Jus). Forensic nurses at CSU learn to apply therapeutic jurisprudence to their practice for the times where law and nursing intercept.
Therapeutic jurisprudence began as a response to the public’s dissatisfaction with the legal system and the legal profession. It represents a movement that started in the United States toward the humanization of the law and legal system. The goal is to reduce the anti-therapeutic effects of the law and promote therapeutic ones on the individual and the society. This approach involves interdisciplinary work by psychologists, sociologists, criminologists, lawyers, judges, and nurses exploring ways to apply current law, therapeutically.