Forensic nurses are a highly specialized type of Registered Nurse (RNs). They provide specialized care for patients who are the victims of violence and other traumas. A forensic nurse can give consultation and provide testimony needed in court. They aid in crime scene investigations and laboratory analysis.
Forensic nurses work to collect evidence, analyze it, and use the evidence to solve crimes. In order to become a forensic nurse, a person must first become a registered nurse (RN) and then receive additional training.
Why Become A Forensic Nurse
Forensic nursing is a specialized field in nursing. They work with patients who are victims of crimes. Some of the typical cases they see include rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, autopsies and death investigations, and more. A person who works in this field must be compassionate and understand that the patients they are seeing have been through severe trauma.
It is the responsibility of a forensic nurse to collect evidence. For example, they may perform a rape kit on somebody who has been sexually assaulted. They assess a patient’s condition and record any signs and symptoms. A forensic nurse may administer treatments and medicines. They consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Forensic nurses perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results, which is an important part of this work. They talk to the patients about the trauma and their various rights. The evidence that is found plays an important role in crime scene investigations and court proceedings. Forensic nurses are asked to present evidence in court or to give testimonies about what they have found.
This is a great job for somebody who loves nursing, enjoys helping people, and wants to use their analytical mind to help solve complex problems.
Forensic nurses should possess the following qualities and skills:
Forensic Nurse Work Environment
Forensic nurses work in a number of different environments. Many work in hospitals, community anti-violence programs, domestic abuse shelters, coroner’s offices, medical examiner offices, psychiatric hospitals, and more. This is a job that involves directly working with patients. Forensic nurses are on their feet throughout the day.
The patients they see have gone through a variety of traumatic experiences. It is important for forensic nurses to be compassionate and patient when dealing with these patients. Forensic nurses, like all nurses, are often required to work a variety of hours. They often work overnight hours, weekends, and holidays. They may be on call for emergency cases.
Forensic Nurse Salary
The median annual salary for forensic nurses was $70,000 in 2017, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many factors to take into consideration when thinking about salary. One such factor is the industry that a person works in.
Those who worked for hospitals earned a median salary of $73,000 in 2017. On the other hand, those who worked in community health facilities earned $62,000 in 2017. Those with additional education and experience may be able to earn a higher salary.
Forensic Nurse Career Outlook
Employment for forensic nurses is expected to increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is a faster rate of growth than many other occupations in the United States. Forensic nursing is the subspecialty within nursing that is growing at the fastest rate.
Advances in technology will allow for the increased employment of forensic nurses. Forensic nurses will be able to use their skills to assess victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, child abuse, and more. Their findings will help in court cases. These are great technological advances that will be very useful in helping women, children, and other victims of crimes.
Additionally, the healthcare system will continue to be a growing field. Healthcare laws are allowing people access to better health insurance and to see physicians on a regular basis. They also go to hospitals for more urgent and emergent care. Nursing will continue to be a growing field as doctors delegate more responsibilities to their nursing staff.
Forensic Nurse Degree
In order to become a forensic nurse, you first need to become a registered nurse (RN). This involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Many colleges and universities offer nursing programs. In nursing programs, students take classes in biology, chemistry, anatomy, psychology, and other science related courses. There is also a hands-on clinical component to these programs, where students work directly with patients. It takes four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.
At the conclusion of the program, nurses are required to be licensed. They must pass the NCLEX-RN exam (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses).
The most common pathway into forensic nursing is to start as a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). Registered Nurses (RNs) take a sexual assault nurse examiner class, which involves 40 hours of classroom training and 40 hours of clinical training. Upon successful completion of an examination, they can receive board certification.
Forensic Nurse Coursework
Below we have listed some of the classes you can expect to take during a nursing program.
Introduction to Nursing: Students learn about the history of nursing. They learn about its importance and how it is one of the fastest growing careers in healthcare today. Students learn about the many levels of the nursing practice, the educational requirements, and responsibilities that nurses have. Students learn about specialty areas within the field.
Anatomy and Physiology: In this course students learn all about human body structure and function. Students acquire core knowledge of the components of each bodily system and how they work together. Topics include cell structure and functions of all major systems of the human body. The connections and relationships among these systems are studied.
Introduction to Forensic Chemistry: This course introduces students to laboratory techniques that will help them understand concepts, practices and the language involved in forensics. They will be involved in laboratory techniques and procedures. They will learn proper and safe laboratory practices, forensic investigation and lab techniques.
Forensic Nurse Career Path
A forensic nurse is a great career path for people who want to help victims of trauma and abuse. Before a person can become a forensic nurse, they must first become licensed as a registered nurse (RN).
A registered nurse provides patient care, under the direction of physicians, at clinics, doctor offices, and hospitals.
Their responsibilities include examining patients, taking a medical history, administering medication, taking vital signs, and more.
A person must have a bachelor’s degree from a nursing program in order to become a registered nurse.
This is a great way to advance in the nursing world. This is the highest level of nursing profession available.
Related Forensic Nurse Careers
Forensic nursing is a great career for somebody who loves nursing and wants to help those who have been affected by tragic circumstances. There are many other great professions out there as well that involve helping others. We have outlined some other careers you may want to consider below.
Medical Assistant: A medical assistant carries out both administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians and hospitals. They may take blood pressure, weight, height, other vital signs, and check over medical history. They may also be responsible for answering phones, making appointments, and medical billing.
Registered Nurse: Registered nurses provide the highest level of nursing care. They provide patient care in a clinical or hospital setting. They educate patients about various health conditions.
Social Worker: Social workers help people solve a variety of problems in their everyday lives, including emotional, mental and behavioral challenges, personal issues, and problems in the home.