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How Do I Become a Forensic Nurse?

Forensic nursing is a relatively new career path. It’s a sub-specialty of general nursing. Forensic nurses have many duties including collecting evidence and giving expert testimony in court. Forensic nurses also investigate neglect or abuse cases and treat people who are victims of crimes. In order to become a forensic nurse, there are special courses that must be taken and a special career path to travel.

Places Forensic Nurses Work
Forensic nurses can work in a variety of places. They can work in coroner’s offices and emergency rooms. Also, some nurses even work for insurance companies. Forensic nurses can work with jails, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies.

High School Preparation
The first step in becoming a forensic nurse is to prepare yourself by taking the appropriate courses in high school. Make sure to take classes such as anatomy, biology, and other science and math courses to give you the head-start you need to enter college to become a nurse. Becoming a forensic nurse can be difficult at times, so work hard and keep your grades up.

Become a Registered Nurse
The next step on the path to becoming a forensic nurse is to find the right college. The college you attend needs to have a nationally accredited nursing program. This is vital to becoming a registered nurse. You must first become an RN before you can specialize in forensic nursing. A bachelor’s degree is the least amount of education necessary. This opens up most opportunities in this field.

Attain a Nursing License
Now that you have your BA, it’s time to become licensed. In order to obtain the license you need, you must take the National Council Licensure Exam. This may not be the only test you will have to take to become licensed depending on the requirements of the state in which you live.

Get a Master’s Degree
Now that you’re a licensed nurse, the next step is to obtain the next appropriate degree to enter into the field of forensic nursing. A master’s degree in forensic nursing is what you will need. This master’s degree will allow you to work in sexual assault nursing. Another career possibility is legal nurse consulting.

SANE Certification
A special course must be taken to become a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. This ensures you’ll have the best skills to properly treat sexual assault victims.

When you have completed the appropriate courses, the next step is to apply for certification. The International Association of Forensic Nurses is the organization through which you can apply for SANE certification. This certification is not usually required by states, but it’s good to have in order to give you top-quality training, knowledge, and professionalism.

The road to becoming a forensic nurse is long, but with the proper knowledge and determination, you can become a licensed, certified forensic nurse. As a forensic nurse, you can help victims of violent crime, testify in court, and fulfill a host of other important duties.

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