Forensic Pathologist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Forensic Pathologist

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Job Description


Forensic pathologists, also known as medical examiners, are the professionals who determine the cause of death for a person who died unexpectedly or violently.

The pathologist examines the person's dead body to determine the cause of death – that is, the exact reason.

They are also responsible for ascertaining if the death was natural, accidental, a murder, or a suicide – the “manner of death.”

Forensic pathologists work closely with law enforcement and may be appointed as medical examiners at the city, county, or state level.

After meticulous evidence collection, the forensic pathologist often presents, explains, and defends their findings in a courtroom.

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Responsibilities

 

The forensic pathologist uses a complex mix of medical and forensic techniques to determine how the person died.

This usually includes conducting an autopsy, examining crime scene evidence and witness testimony, collecting medical evidence from the cadaver, analyzing other evidence like ballistics or toxicology, analyzing blood (serology), and utilizing DNA technology. 

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Skills

 

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Perceptiveness

Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.

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Working Conditions

 

Forensic pathologists work in the laboratory most of the time, often standing or sitting for extended periods of time.

Typical work includes conducting autopsies and using a microscope to analyze tissue samples. A workday may range from 10 to 12 hours or longer and may involve travel to a remote death site.

The pathologist needs to write clear, thorough, accurate reports. Occasional court appearances are necessary.

A forensic pathologist may work for a medical school, hospital, or other private organization that provides autopsy services to the government.

Others work directly for the government at the city, county, state, or federal level.

Forensic pathologists undergo difficult training requiring a minimum of 13 years. While physical demands from the job are minimal, these experts are subjected to extremely disturbing sites, intensely unpleasant odors of decay, and the repeated sight of human bodies mangled by violence.

The profession calls for strong nerves and may have long-term emotional effects on those who practice it.

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
01.19.2018
The Forensic Support Technician position is located at out Center of Hope at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, Indiana. Job Duties The Forensic Support Technician assists with forensic patient care, vital signs, forensic sexual assault...
01.19.2018
The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) - Registered Nurse (RN) - Center of Hope position is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Job Duties - The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) demonstrates performance consistent with professional forensic nursing...
01.19.2018
The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) - Registered Nurse (RN) - Center of Hope position is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Job Duties - The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) demonstrates performance consistent with professional forensic nursing...
01.19.2018
The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) - Registered Nurse (RN) - Center of Hope position is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Job Duties - The Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) demonstrates performance consistent with professional forensic nursing...
01.19.2018
- Masters degree is required VCU Health System's Speech Therapy Outpatient department is seeking a full time Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is an experienced therapist who is able to independently adapt intervention to meet...
01.19.2018
- Masters degree is required VCU Health System's Speech Pathology department is seeking a full time Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is an experienced therapist who is able to independently adapt intervention to meet specific...
01.19.2018
VCU Health System-Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Brook Road Campus - Speech Therapy, Feeding Program - is seeking a full time Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is a novice to an advanced beginner level of practice, particularly...
01.19.2018
The Speech Language Pathologist evaluates patients communication, cognition, and swallowing abilities. The Speech Language Pathologist provides goal directed, activity oriented treatment to promote optimum independence in functional communication...
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The Speech Pathologist evaluates and treats inpatient and out patient clients performing screenings, evaluations and modified barium swallows. The speech pathologist is responsible for documenting all age appropriate patient care approximately in...
01.19.2018
VCU Health System-Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Brook Road Campus - Fredericksburg Therapy Center is seeking a full time Speech Pathologist. The Speech Pathologist is a novice to an advanced beginner level of practice, particularly as...
01.12.2018
Position Summary: The Speech Language Pathologist evaluates patient's communication, cognition and swallowing abilities and provides goal directed, activity oriented treatment to promote optimum independence in functional communication and...
01.19.2018
The Speech Language Pathologist is responsible for planning and implementing comprehensive speech, language and communication therapy programs, setting goals and objectives, coordinating in-service training programs for Allied Health personnel on...
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The Pathologist Assistant performs both autopsy/postmortem examination, and surgical specimen grossing; prepares tissue samples and take photographs, dissect specimens, records physical features, and obtains cultures following established...
01.19.2018
The Speech Language Pathologist is responsible for providing diagnostic, habilitative/rehabilitative, consultative and counseling services to individuals with communication, cognitive and swallowing disorders. The patient population consists of...
01.19.2018
The Speech Pathologist is responsible for the ethical, cost effective management, delivery, documentation, and outcomes of professional speech pathology services to agency patients, in accordance with an established physical plan of care and in...
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