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What is Forensic Nursing?

While most people are completely aware of the current boom in the most conventional areas of nursing, few people are familiar with the growing opportunities that exist in the field of nursing from the forensic perspective. What’s is forensic nursing? This unconventional field of nursing extends into a number of different professions that expand the responsibility of the practitioner beyond the normal duties required for care. The training for this type of nursing differs from that required of traditional nurses as well.

What Do Forensic Nurses Do?

In general, this nursing specialty specifically focuses on the care of victims and criminals that have suffered bodily harm. This care requires that the nurses act on behalf of the legal system in addition to performing duties related to healthcare. While caring for individuals, forensic nurses are tasked with gathering forensic evidence related to the circumstances surrounding the given incident.

Forensic Nursing Is An Emerging Profession

This field is relatively new. It was not until 2015 that the International Association of Forensic Nurses started offering two specific certifications that focus specifically on this specialty. These concentrations are defined as the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for Adolescents and Adults and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for Pediatrics. This sub-specialty is actually one of the fastest-growing fields of nursing in the healthcare industry today.

How Do You Become A Forensic Nurse?

While the actual educational path may vary, there are some common approaches that people take when hoping to break into this field of study. So, how do you become a forensic nurse? The first step is to become a Registered Nurse (RN) through the traditional academic avenues. Following this accomplishment, most students are required to engage in at least 40 hours of classroom training in addition to 40 hours of clinical training.

Once this requirement has been satisfied, nurses are equipped to apply for their certification as one of the two types of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) positions. This certification allows forensic nurses to establish positions in hospitals and other branches of the healthcare industry where rape, sexual assault, and other legal situations arise. In some areas, this nursing degree is sufficient for people to serve as a death investigator or even coroner in certain situations. Nurses hoping to have the greatest number of career opportunities in their future based on this specialty should also explore the option of taking a more direct route.

What Do Forensic Nurses Major In?

Some leading universities offer a Masters degree or PhD in forensic nursing. Different communities can require different levels of training and expertise, depending on the position being considered. However, not all nurses of this type have to confine their career paths to the healthcare industry. Law enforcement regularly keeps this type of nurses on staff in order to assist with a variety of cases. There are also consultant positions widely available that are connected with law firms in addition to many types of positions opening up in the social services sector.

What Is The Forensic Nurse Training?

Whatever approach and certification program you choose to pursue, there are some common goals and practices that all will employ in order to prepare nurses for the path that exists ahead. Candidates for this nursing career will be trained in the methods for properly collecting forensic evidence in a clinical setting that will stand up to legal standards in the courtroom. They will also be instructed in the proper routes and methods of communication that exist regarding law enforcement, separate forensic units, legal networks, and victim representatives.

Among their responsibilities will be determining the appropriate treatment and emergency implementation strategies for patients who face forensic issues with their case. A major part of the program is focused on the policies that have been outlined for caring for children and adults who have been the victims of sexual assault. Finally, nurses pursuing this career will understand their role given the perceptions of society by examining the political and social implications of the situations that they deal with on a regular basis. This study will put the practice into the proper context in terms of domestic situations, the criminal justice system, and the law enforcement community.

What Is The Coursework For A Degree In Forensic Nursing?

The specific courses that form the average curriculum for programs centered on forensic nursing include Clinical Ethics, Courtroom Testimony by Healthcare Specialists, Forensic Approaches to Domestic Violence, and Forensic Approaches to Mental Health Issues. The conclusion of these programs are also likely to include courses such as Forensic Implications in the Older Adult or Forensic Issues in the United States Military. The possibilities for people attaining this type of training are continuing to expand as time passes. Although, the following career paths represent the most popular jobs in this ever-growing field.

What Jobs Are There In Forensic Nursing?

Correctional Nursing Specialists

Correctional Nursing Specialists are tasked with providing care of the highest quality to individuals who have been detained by courts or other types of correctional institutes. Their responsibilities typically include prescribing medications, treating illness, and conducting regular physical examinations. A Masters or Doctoral degree in forensic nursing qualifies you to become a Forensic Clinical Nurse Specialist. In this profession, nurses serve as experts researchers, technicians, teachers, and administrators across a huge field of forensic environments. The most common settings in which these specialists are found include emergency rooms, psychiatric forensic units, and programs dedicated to sexual-assault examinations.

Forensic Gerontology Specialists

What Is a Forensic Nursing Home? The abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the elderly is typically handled by Forensic Gerontology Specialists. These nurses work on cases in order to care for the individual while also raising the public awareness of human rights issues concerning this demographic. This type of nurse is most often found in nursing homes, hospitals, and other settings where care for the elderly is common.

Forensic Nurse Investigators

Forensic Nurse Investigators typically find themselves on cases that involve accidental or violent death. These practitioners are usually working out of a coroner’s office, examining bodies, assessing crime scenes, and assisting in autopsies. Additionally, their role entails gathering background information on victims that includes their social and medical history. Legal Nurse Consultants most often assist lawyers who are working on civil civil cases that involve both medicine and legal concerns. These kinds of cases include medical malpractice suits, personal injury, worker compensation suits, and probate situations. They are responsible for analyzing legal information based on their expertise and background in nursing education and clinical experience. Their services most often involve meetings with attorneys, clients, and physicians.






Find Your Degree is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.