5 Careers That Combine Criminal Justice With Health Care
You have a passion for criminal justice. Ever since you were a small child and played cops and robberswith the neighborhood kids, you’ve wanted to help catch the bad guys and help fight crime. At the same time, you’re drawn to health care, wanting to help others improve or even save their lives.
The good news is that thanks to today’s modern criminal justice and healthcare practices, you don’t necessarily have to choose a career in either field. In fact, there are a number of jobs that will allow you to combine both fields into one exciting career.
Forensic nurses often work in hospital emergency rooms, treating victims of violent crimes, suspected abuse and those who have been involved in incidents that may be related to a crime, such as car accidents. These nurses have the medical knowledge required to evaluate and treat injuries and illness, but they’re also trained in proper criminal procedures, including evidence collection, interrogation and documentation. A forensic nurse may work with a rape victim, taking her statement and collecting evidence with a rape kit. Forensic nurses can be invaluable to investigations, as they are often among the first people to have contact with victims. They’re also often called upon to testify in court or explain evidence or procedures for other law enforcement officials.
When someone dies under suspicious circumstances, the medical examiner is called in to examine the body and determine the legal cause of death. Medical examiners perform autopsies and send the results to the lab for confirmation and use their vast medical knowledge to piece together clues about what happened to the victim and why. Medical examiners may be employed by local or state law enforcement agencies and often testify in court and present evidence, but they are not generally law enforcement officers.
Pathologists work closely with forensic nurses and medical examiners, performing tests on blood, bodily fluids or tissue to use as evidence in criminal cases. Pathologists might perform DNA testing, for example, or analyze blood and urine for the presence of drugs, the results of which can determine the outcome of a criminal case.
Some criminal justice graduate programs help prepare mental health professionals for a career as a forensic psychiatrist. Forensic psychiatrists work with law enforcement to help determine the motivations and psychological issues of criminals in an effort to solve crimes. They also perform evaluations on criminals to determine their mental state and whether they are competent to stand trial. Forensic psychiatrists are sometimes called profilers and work with law enforcement to develop a psychological profile of criminals to help build a case or predict a criminal’s next move, making it easier to find them.
Health Care Management
Hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and mental health facilities often work closely with local law enforcement, both in the investigation and prosecution of crimes and in the evaluation, treatment and management of both victims and perpetrators. It’s important for medical staff to have training in the identification of victims and an understanding of the legal implications of working with both victims and criminals.
Those who earn a master of health administration degree are generally trained in developing these relationships and understanding how medicine and law work together, ensuring that healthcare facilities perform their roles ethically and responsibly. Some hospitals, particularly in high crime or urban areas, hire administrators to manage law enforcement and the hospital’s role in investigations.
These are just a few of the careers that combine both law enforcement and healthcare duties. Other possibilities include odontology, a subspecialty of dentistry that focuses on interpreting dental records, or emergency response. No matter which path you choose, a law- and medicine-related job allows you to serve your community in a meaningful way while combining your personal passions.
About the Author: Tanya Hill is a career counselor and certified resume writer. She works with adults who are looking to change careers and those seeking new challenges or direction in their working life.