Forensic Nursing Careers

Overview of Forensic Nursing

Forensic Nursing first became a concept in 1992. This is when the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) was formed by a group of nurses.

Their mission was to develop a role in nursing that could have a impact on the future of forensic science and the health care industry. As a result, the Forensic Nursing Career evolved. Today it is one of the fastest growing and most popular careers in nursing. The continued increase of crime in our society has made forensic nursing not only popular, but it has become a necessary component of the American judicial system.

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Forensic Nursing Job Description

Forensic nurses are RN’s that practice in a number of fields including domestic violence, emergency trauma, child and elderly abuse, and sexual assault. Forensic Nurses are responsible for gathering evidence quickly and efficiently so that it can be used in a court of law. The employers of forensic nursing specialists vary as well. They include acute healthcare facilities, correctional institutions, county prosecutors, coroner’s offices, medical examiner’s offices, insurance companies, and psychiatric facilities.

Another opportunity is to start your own forensic nursing business and act as an independent consultant to all of these employers.

A lot of forensic nurses work as nurse examiners in hospital emergency rooms. In cases like a shooting or a stabbing, the forensic nurse works to collect bullets and other debris left in the body that will help in the investigation. They also have to photograph and measure the wounds of the patients. If the victim dies, the forensic nurse is responsible for working with the medical examiner as well. In addition to gathering forensic information, forensic nurses are also responsible for testifying in trials as an expert witness or a fact witness. As an expert witness, the nurse may give their opinion on the findings of forensic evidence. However, if they are called upon as a fact witness, their testimony should be objective, state their findings, and shouldn’t include their personal opinion.

Forensic Nurse Education and Trainng

So how do I become a Forensic Nurse? The first step is to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Having RN licensure is a requirement for this field. If you are already an RN, you are ahead of the game. The next step is to enroll in a Forensic Nursing Certificate or Degree program. Such programs are not required for entry into the profession, however, breaking into the field of forensic nursing without a specialized degree or certification can be extremely difficult. There is a growing number of nursing schools that offer certificate programs for current registered nurses that focus specifically on forensic nursing.

Forensic Nursing Salary and Job Outlook

The forensic nursing job outlook is very good with steady growth predicted over the next decade. According to a survey conducted by the International Association of Forensic Nurse (IAFN) members, the typical forensic nurse salary ranges from $55 to $300 per hour depending upon education and experience.

If you think a Forensic Nursing might be the next step in your nursing career, request information from the Forensic Nursing Schools listed below.