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MAY 02/2014

Forensic medicine: a fascinating and rewarding career path

For many people studying medicine and related disciplines, the idea of using their skills to pursue a slightly unconventional career path could be extremely appealing. Those who fit this description could be well advised to consider forensic medicine jobs.

One of the most interesting, challenging and unique branches of medicine, working in forensics allows staff to extend the scope of their expertise into the legal realm, allowing them to serve the public on two fronts simultaneously.

Since the requirements of this line of work differ in many ways from other medical fields, it takes a certain type of person to truly thrive in forensic medicine, but for those who do, it can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience.

Multiple career paths
Forensic medicine is the term used to describe the practice of medicine as it pertains to the law, encompassing a variety of different roles and responsibilities.

For example, practitioners might be called upon to assess whether someone is under the influence of drink or drugs, examine suspects and victims as part of a crime investigation, or provide a statement or oral evidence in court.

Forensic medical examiners or physicians largely concern themselves with physically assessing individuals who may be the victims or suspects of crime. Workers can therefore expect opportunities to train in various different areas and tailor their career to suit their strengths and interests.

Expertise required
Due to the technical and important nature of these jobs, applicants will generally be expected to show a good level of knowledge and expertise in their chosen fields, including necessary qualifications and a certain amount of post-educational experience in relevant clinical areas.

They will provide support and assistance for custody nurses, as well as interacting with many of those involved in the legal process, including police officers and law practitioners.

As such, in addition to their medical training, forensics workers will need to develop a keen understanding of medical jurisprudence, with attention paid to how their work will interact with the legal considerations of wider investigations. This means they will have to become well-versed in confidentiality matters, record-keeping and - in some cases - courtroom skills.

Those who succeed in this field will be well-placed to develop medical expert credentials over the course of their careers.

The rewards
Forensic medicine jobs are exciting, dynamic, varied and constantly interesting, allowing healthcare professionals to become part of an investigative process and aid the course of justice as well as protecting the public health.

They can expect to constantly learn new things each and every day, while providing support for some of the most vulnerable members of society at times of great stress. As such, for those with the appropriate disposition, forensics can offer career opportunities like no other. 

Check out some of our forensic medicine jobs or register your interest here. Alternatively visit the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine website

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