Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Forensic Jaunt to Contra Costa County

Yesterday, I took the whole day off to play forensic nurse escort to a lovely journalist from Norway who is in San Francisco, with colleagues.  She writes for two nursing magazines in her country where they do not yet have forensic nursing and she wanted to know more about this speciality.  Her goal was  to see programs in our area and to possibly "shadow" a forensic nurse at work.  When she had no response to posted pleas for assistance, she contacted our International Association of Forensic Nurses and one of our Canadian board members contacted me.  I was able to enlist the help of a wonderful physician, pediatrician, Dr. James Carpenter, in Contra Costa County, where I was the SART Coordinator a number of years ago.  I picked Kari Anne up at 10AM and we made the fifty mile drive to Martinez.  It was an absolutely spectacular day and Highway 4 was green and glistening.  Kari Anne said she had spoken to her husband in Norway earlier and snow was knee deep at home so I'm sure she appreciated our marvelous weather.

We met Pat Tinker, the coordinator of the Children's Advocacy Center for Contra Costa County ( Pat formerly held the same position in San Francisco ) for lunch so she was able to acquaint Kari Anne with the role that agency plays in the forensic world.  From lunch, we went to Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and spent two hours with Dr. Carpenter who, as always, did a wonderful job of talking about issues relating to both child sex abuse and physical abuse.  He is a staunch supporter of forensic nurses and is the medical director of the adult SART program as well.  During my fifteen months as the SART coordinator, he was invaluable to me, both as a professional colleague and friend.

Kari Anne had many questions which we were happy to answer, then Dr. Carpenter took us on a tour of the SART room.  On the drive back to San Francisco, which was amazingly quick and minus any traffic, we continued to talk about forensic nursing.  The day made me all the more aware of how much I miss working in my speciality.  Even though I have much yet to do with the wedding on Friday evening, I wouldn't have missed this wonderful day for anything.  I always enjoy foreign visitors and sharing information about forensic nursing.  It was also wonderful to see two special friends, Pat Tinker and Dr. Carpenter.  They always come through for me whenever I ask and I cannot thank them enough.

Hopefully, it won't be long until there are forensic nurses in Norway and, if I ever have a chance to head that way, I can visit those programs!


  1. Jim Carpenter1:09 PM

    Carmen, you are always welcome in Contra Costa. Forensic nurses are some of my favorite people and never need to question whether they make a difference.
    To be accurate, I do medical QA for the pediatric cases and Ritu MalikMD does the QA for the adult cases. I shared with her the visit and she was very pleased that our program could be shared.
    Our SART coordinator Ana ReaLVN was in court on a case and could not join the visit.
    For all the readers out there, support your forensic nurses and SART programs. The world would be much worse without them. Jim Carpenter

  2. What an interesting day you both had. Love your description of the landscape. Are you going to tell us more about forensic nursing on this blog? I hope so.

  3. Sounds like a great day. What does a forensic nurse do? I'm in the dark here...guess I'll go look it up :-)

  4. It must be very rewarding to impart your expertise to someone from another country in a similar field. So glad you enjoyed your day and enjoy the wedding on Friday!

  5. Glad to hear that you're able to help them out..and had a great day doing what you love.