How to Become a Forensics Nurse

How to Become a Forensics Nurse

Forensic nursing is a specialty nursing areas that deals with the investigation and care for people involved in criminal activity, violence, abuse, and traumatic accidents. Forensic nurses are registered nurses that provide care to many different patients involved in a variety of situations.

What does a forensics nurse do?

Forensic nurses provide care to patients and assist in the investigation of criminal activities. They often act as liaison s between the medical profession and criminal justice system. They treat patients that are victims of violent crimes such as sexual assault or abuse. They examine patients, obtain medical histories, and provide the required treatment. They also provide physical and emotional support and provide helpful information about resources and support groups for victims. Forensic nurses collect evidence from victims and perpetrators and some testify in court as witnesses. Some forensic nurses provide healthcare to people in correctional facilities.

What kind of training does a forensics nurse need?

Forensic nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate, or bachelor degree program in nursing. All registered nurses must become licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Most forensic nurses complete additional training in forensic nursing after becoming a registered nurse. They typically complete courses in criminology, criminal justice, forensic mental health, perpetrator theory, and treatment of victims of violent crimes. Most also gain professional certification to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. The Forensic Nursing Certification Board offers a variety of certifications. Forensic nurses must regularly complete continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast on advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a forensics nurse?

Employment of all registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing population and increased incidences of criminal activity will drive job growth of forensic nurses.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for forensic nurses with extensive experience. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace forensic nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do forensic nurses make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for forensics nurses is $43,000; average annual forensic nurse salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a forensic nurse is a great choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care to victims of criminal activity and assisting with the investigation of crimes. Forensic nurses must be able to handle a variety of violent situations and patients that are unstable. Physical stamina, patience, compassion, determination, and good problem solving skills are essential characteristics. Forensic nurses must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to help patients feel at ease. They must be quick on their feet and make effective decisions in emergency situations.

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