Career Profile: Forensic Nursing

Nurse Anesthesiologist

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Job Description:

Forensic nursing is a relatively new healthcare field that combines law enforcement with medical practices. Forensic nursing professionals are technically tasked to treat patients or victims involve in violent crimes. In addition to that, they also perform crime scene investigations or they can choose to become a medical detective who helps police officers to convict the perpetrators.

Forensic nursing specialists assume important duties and responsibilities that may include the following:

  • assist crime victims in their physical and emotional recovery
  • collect and document vital crime scene evidences
  • assess the condition of the victim and preserve key evidences
  • testify in front of the court during legal proceedings
  • make thorough evaluation of the victim, including physical and psychological assessments
  • closely collaborate with response teams and police officers
  • provide immediate care to assault victims
  • record everything from the clinical evaluation of the victim up to the evidences collected
Work Environment:

Forensic nursing specialists are typically on-call, and are constantly exposed to a fast paced crime scene location. They are commonly employed in law firms, public health departments, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and community heath centers. They spend most of their day dealing with crime scene evidences and evaluating crime victims. Moreover, they work closely with police officers to easily relay crucial information regarding the crime investigation. Since they often need to deal with traumatized patients, they are also well-trained in performing psychiatric and psychological evaluation. Forensic nurses work in a very challenging environment wherein their main objective is to administer immediate care to crime victims and preserve crime scene evidences.

Education and Training Requirements:

Aspirants are required to acquire a BSN (Bachelor's of Science in Nursing) degree before they can specialize in forensic nursing. After that, they have to find accredited nursing schools that offer forensic nursing programs in order to start their forensic training. Most schools offering forensic nursing programs provide 2-year graduate level courses, which when completed will earn the aspirant a Master's of Science in nursing degree (MSN). Graduates are also advised to get certification from the International Association of Forensic Nurses in order to boost their chances of landing more lucrative job offers.

Salary Range:

Income wages of forensic nursing specialists are heavily influenced by years of experience, geographical location, and area of expertise. Most forensic nursing specialists receive an hourly rate of around $27.21 – $39.55. Meanwhile, those who have gained relevant experiences and are already highly skilled receive an hourly rate of more than $50.87.

Job Outlook:

Even though forensic nursing is fairly new in the medical arena, it already offers promising career opportunities for certified and skilled forensic nursing experts. However, unlike with other nursing professions, current work demand for forensic nurse examiners is still quite low. But it is anticipated that the need for qualified forensic nurses will slowly increase over the coming years as they become a valuable asset in legal proceedings.

So, if you want to pursue a challenging career as a forensic nursing expert, start by browsing through our comprehensive list of accredited forensic nursing schools!

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics