Ways to Become a Forensic Nurse

With evolution in the field of health care, a number of careers are being introduced to keep pace with the ever changing needs of people. The realm of medicine and health care has also seen a new array of programs and careers. The same is the case in the stream of nursing, which has seen a rise in recent times. There are different types of nursing careers, one of which is forensic nursing which offers a lot of intuitive information and also the excitement of working in such a setting. A forensic nurse works in a clinical setting who takes care of victims of crime, helps in the collection of samples and evidence, and also assists the doctors in providing health care services in prison systems etc. The career of a forensic nurse is one of sheer courage and dedication.

Forensic Nurse Requirements and Job Description

Forensic nursing is quite an exciting field which is related to the basics of nursing as well as that of an investigator. A forensic nurse not only performs the tasks required for treating victims of crime and providing moral support to them, they also act as examiners. Apart from being a forensic nurse examiner, who tends to assist the patients to recover emotionally as well as physically after their harrowing experience, these individuals also work as detectives or investigators in a clinical setting. Before getting into the field of forensic nursing, you should be aware of the education and nature of work. Mentioned below is the educational requirement and work structure of a forensic nurse.

  • In order to hold a valid forensic nurse qualification, you need to complete a three year degree program in the field of nursing. The candidate can opt for a bachelor of science in nursing, an associate degree in nursing, and a diploma program. After this you can apply for the registered nurse (RN) program, which is a prerequisite for forensic nursing.
  • Once you have obtained the RN degree, which has a duration of two to four years, you can opt for forensic nursing. The candidate may be required to choose his area of specialization like counseling, criminology, general forensic nursing, pediatrics and psychology etc. After graduating from this program, the student may have to study further for an approved nursing program in the field of forensics.
  • Forensic nursing programs offer specialty in various fields like a forensic clinical nurse, forensic gerontology specialist, forensic psychiatric nurse, death investigator and sexual assault examiner, forensic investigator, and the like. These courses are offered in traditional schools as well as through on-line colleges. Choose the one where you would like to specialize in.
  • After the completion of the course, you can join as an intern or take up a residence program. After this you can apply for the license of a forensic nurse. For this you may have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLE), conducted by the state. To start a career, you may have to get a certificate from the Forensic Nursing Certification Board (FNCB) of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN).
  • Once you have completed the formalities and requirements, you can work as a full-fledged forensic nurse. The salary of a forensic nurse may range from USD 54,000 to USD 208,000 (an approximate value) on an annual basis. The perks are availed based on the experience, location and work of the individual.

If you are also an aficionado towards forensic science and investigations, then choose this path of a forensic nurse investigator, for a challenging yet rewarding experience.