On Looking and Writing: A Guide to Using Expert Eyes and Ears to Document What We See and Hear

“Part of what restricts us seeing things is that we have an expectation about what we willsee, and we are actually perceptually restricted by that expectation. In a sense, expectation is the lost cousin of attention: both serve to reduce what we need to process of the world “out there”.

― Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes.

Documentation.  Where do we begin? It would be easy to give you a “To Do” list on how to document your patient’s physical status, emotions and behaviors. Or I could simply tell you not use language that might be construed as evaluative, or interpreted as a value statement or words that assign a subjective or emotional experience to the survivor, but those words are already so ingrained it seems as if they are part of our DNA. Humans are programmed with experiences and expectations that create a cloudy lens that prevents us from actually seeing and hearing what is happening right in front of us. Instead we write what we think we are seeing and hearing. This webinar will help participants unlock their ability to see and write; to document their patient’s physical state and behaviors in an accurate manner. You will learn how to “paint a picture” with your words and accurately describe outward appearance, visible behavior, speech and eye contact. Language that is instantly understandable, without bias, whether in a court of law or health care setting. Learning activities and video clips will provide opportunities to refine your skills—of seeing and writing. Participants will receive materials and guides. And you will have fun!

Presented by: Donna Gaffney, DNSc, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN

The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


CE Credits are no longer available for this recorded online event. A certificate of attendance can be obtained by following the instructions listed in the Webinar FAQs below.

Webinar FAQs

Are CE credits offered?

CE Credits are no longer available for this recorded online event; however, a certificate of attendance can be obtained.

How is the certificate of attendance obtained?

Simply register to watch this video through the FREE form below, watch the video on the next page, and then complete the follow-up evaluation. Please DO NOT share a the direct link of the video. We need to track who watches the video due to our grant funding requirements.

How long is the video?

This video is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

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Contact us at safeta@forensicnurses.org. We’d be happy to help!

Register using the form below and get started on this online course today!