Forensic Nursing 101
Have you considered a career in forensic nursing?
Jose Fermoso | NursingLink
Do you watch shows like “CSI” or “Bones” and wish you had the skills to forensically solve crimes? Forensic nursing lets you catch the criminals without a criminal justice background!
Forensic nursing is one of the fastest-growing specialties in nursing and a crucial link between the health industry and the law. Many professionals agree that the CSI television shows don’t do justice to the important role forensic nurses play in the lives of assault and trauma victims.
What is Forensic Nursing?
Forensic nursing isn’t for everyone. The role of a forensic nurse is multifaceted and emotionally difficult. They collect physical evidence, such as DNA or blood, from victims after an assault, identify injuries, analyze psychological and social damages, and create educational programs to prevent future attacks. A forensic nurse uncovers a victim’s personal details in lengthy interviews and subsequently collaborates with lawyers, police, and doctors in evidence-based investigations. They often testify as expert witnesses in trials that can lead to criminal convictions.
A forensic nursing career offers many specialty areas. They include domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse/neglect, elder mistreatment, human trafficking, and death investigations.
What Skills Do Forensic Nurses Need?
Worried you don’t have what it takes to be a forensic nurse? Most of the skills you will need come naturally, such as problem solving abilities, critical thinking, and clear verbal and written communication. Nurses constantly explain technical information to non-technical professionals and must be rigorous about clarity. As an advocate for victims, a forensic nurse must also have a compassionate demeanor.
Forensic nurses don’t always work with assault victims. They also work with the perpetrators of violence inside prisons or mental health departments.
How Much Do Forensic Nurses Make?
The median salary for a forensic nurse is $39/hour, or $81,800/year, with the bottom 10% of nurses making around $50,000/year and the top 10% making around $140,000.
How Do I Become a Forensic Nurse?
Interested in becoming a forensic nurse? You have two options. You can attend a general education nursing school that offers specific courses in forensic nursing. Once you graduate, you need to take certification tests to become an FRN. Or you can become a registered nurse, work at least three years in general medicine, and then specialize in forensics. Some schools offer masters or PhD forensics programs, but you’d still need to become a clinical nurse before getting a job as a forensic nurse. Before obtaining a specialty, all forensic nurses need to be educated in medical, surgical, obstetric, pediatric, and psychiatric nursing.