Becoming a Forensic Nurse

Have you ever thought that nurses can become a part of the hit television show Crime Scene Investigation? There is this newest field of nursing science that adds forensics into the equation – forensic nursing. Though glamorous as it looks on television, forensic nursing is a very challenging job. Nurses who want to specialize in this field have to undergone serious training.

This field is a specialized nursing science that deals with the care of crime victims, collecting the evidences in the crime scene, and even providing care services in prison. An integral component in criminal investigation procedures, forensic nursing collectively deals the aspects of health care and the judicial system.

Depending upon their work assignments, forensic nurses can specialize as a forensic clinical nurse specialist, forensic nurse investigator, nurse coroner / death investigator, sexual assault nurse examiner, legal nurse consultant, forensic gerontology specialist, forensic psychiatric nurse, and correctional nursing specialist.

There are many career choices and employment opportunities for nurses who want to work in different criminal investigation units of various police departments, private and public crime laboratories, private investigators, and federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security. Forensic nurses can also work with detective agencies, district attorneys, public prosecutors, and victims’ advocates in the pursuit of justice.

Salaries for forensic nurses vary according their roles while those working as independent consultants may earn high hourly rates. One has to understand that working as a full-time employee in emergency rooms or the medical examiner’s office earns lower salaries than specially-trained forensic nurses.

Forensic nursing is a new and upcoming nursing specialty and nurses have to understand that it is a very demanding and difficult job especially when mistake is not an option in criminal investigation cases. Many people who pursue a career in this field may need advanced specialist training to be able to work in the field. The American Nurses Association has been planning to establish a core curriculum for forensic nursing.

There are many schools that provide extensive training for people who want to take up forensic nursing. If you are interested in pursuing a career in forensic nursing, one can even enroll in online distance-learning programs that are being offered by several colleges in the U.S. Nurses can even enroll in online nursing certification courses that helps them earn the qualifications needed to become a full-pledged forensic nurse.

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