Education To Become A Forensic Nurse
To become a forensic nurse, youll need to earn an ADN or a BSN. There are pros and cons to each. For example, earning an associate degree will take less time and money. On the other hand, a bachelors degree will provide you with a more in-depth education.
Many hospitals may require a BSN, but forensic nurses come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, Stahlmann says. No matter the degree level, obtaining solid clinical assessment skills is a must. The International Association of Forensic Nurses has members who hold associate, bachelor, master and/or doctorate degrees in nursing.
In choosing your degree, it might be worth checking out what local hospitals look for in a candidate and the requirements in your state. Stahlmann notes that some state nursing boards have specific education requirements for nurses who are sexual assault nurse examiners.
How Do You Become A Forensic Nurse
If youre looking for an exciting, in-demand career that blends medicine with criminal justice, then you could be the perfect fit to become a forensic nurse. As a relatively new field, forensic nursing is an RN specialty that focuses on providing competent medical treatment while collecting physical evidence that can be used against criminals, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Forensic nurses usually work in hospital emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, rape crisis centers, and forensic labs as the first responders helping law enforcement officers investigate crimes. A forensic nurse will be involved in documenting injuries, collecting fluid samples, taking photographs, measuring wounds, and giving expert testimony in court. The following is a step-by-step guide that should be followed for successfully becoming a forensic nurse.
Degree And Specialization Options
Criminal justice students at the masters level may encounter MA, MS, and MCJ degrees. MA programs typically examine the applications of social sciences like psychology, sociology, and criminology in criminal justice institutions and field settings. Meanwhile, MS programs typically maintain a stronger focus on the technical, scientific, quantitative, and research-oriented aspects of crime and rehabilitation.
The MCJ offers a different path, functioning as a terminal degree for criminal justice professionals. MCJ programs typically combine the respective social science and technical focuses of MA and MS degrees.
Criminal justice overlaps with the study and practice of law. Advanced law degrees like the master of laws or juris doctor also apply. Those who hold LLM or JD degrees meet the academic requirements for earning a license to practice criminal law, either as prosecutors or defense attorneys.
Many schools also offer concentration and specialization options at the graduate level. Potential specializations include policing and law enforcement, criminal corrections, criminology, case management, homeland security, and crisis management. Some programs also offer forensic science specializations, but these are usually only available to students with extensive technical and scientific backgrounds.
Recommended Reading: Wellington Nursing Home Temple Tx
Forensic Nurse Schooling Requirements
Registered nurses who work in or with the legal system begin their careers by obtaining basic education in nursing. To sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, a nurse must first obtain an associate degree, nursing diploma or baccalaureate degree in nursing. These programs take two to four years. Nurses who want to go on to advanced practice or into management roles go on for a master’s degree, or in some cases, a doctorate in nursing.
All states require nurses to be licensed. Specialty training in forensic nursing is available through organizations such as International Association of Forensic Nurses.
What Is An Lpn Degree
An LPN degree is a nursing certificate that qualifies professionals to work as nursing assistants. Many professionals with this degree use it to work in long-term care facilities like nursing homes. This level of nursing degree certifies professionals to perform some restricted nursing responsibilities, such as assisting patients with their tasks of daily living like bathing, eating and exercising. LPNs may also have the qualifications needed to administer medications and conduct other types of treatments, such as helping patients perform mobility exercises.
These degrees take a year on average to complete and can be a great first step for those hoping to advance into other nursing positions. For example, many LPNs gain this certificate so they can begin working in the nursing field. This allows them to gain experience or work as part-time nurse assistants while pursuing a program to become registered nurses . Most RN degree programs take four years on average to complete, but candidates with LPN degrees may apply some of their credits to shorten their RN programs.
Also Check: Nurse Practitioner Sleep Medicine Certification
Forensic Nursing Career Fast Facts
What youll do: Treat victims of violent crimes and sexual assault, collect criminal evidence, advocate for victims in court, and bring awareness to issues relating to healthcare and the justice system.
Where youll work: Hospitals, correctional facilities, coroners offices.
Degree youll need: ADN or BSN
Median annual salary: $77,600
Jobs For Masters In Criminal Justice Graduates
Those wondering what to do with a criminal justice degree should research their career options before applying. Your intended career path should inform your choice of schools, particularly for learners interested in concentrated or specialized degrees.
The following list includes popular career paths and areas of professional practice expected to see strong levels of growth. It prioritizes job titles and positions that require or prefer a masters in criminal justice.
Recommended Reading: Nursing Schools In Salem Oregon
Advantages Of Becoming A Forensic Nurse
- Making a difference in survivors’ lives, holding perpetrators accountable, and working to keep communities safe
- Broadens registered nurse skills with forensic training in evidence collection, criminal procedures, and legal investigations
- More flexible schedules than other RN positions that require shift and evening work
- Higher salaries than other RN specialties
How Can You Become A Sane Nurse
For SANE certification, applicants must have a current RN license, at least two years of experience, and at least 300 recorded hours of SANE-related practice. The easiest path for how to become a SANE nurse is a certificate or RN to MSN bachelors completion degree in Forensic Nursing, which will usually provide the necessary hours.
Recommended Reading: Mclamb Nursing Home Benson Nc
Sara Jennings Dnp Rn Sane
Sara serves as Education Director, providing education and technical assistance resources to IAFN members. Sara has 15 years of forensic nursing experience and has previously worked as program manager of a full service clinical forensic nursing program. She also has a background in emergency nursing and emergency medical services.
Sara speaks locally and nationally on clinical forensic issues. Sara has served on numerous multidisciplinary teams and sexual assault response teams in the community and has previously chaired a hospital based workplace violence task force. She has previously co-chaired the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s Human Trafficking Task Force. Sara has served in the past on the Board of Directors for the IAFN as President, Secretary and Director at Large. She is also a member of the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and has served as President. Sara received her Doctorate and Masters of Nursing from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Sara is certified as both a sexual assault nurse examiner adult/adolescent and pediatrics and AFN-BC.
Two: Take The Rn Licensing Exam
After graduation, you will need to pass the NCLEX . The NCLEX is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada. Once you pass this exam, you may apply for your first nursing job.
The NCLEX exam is a standardized, computerized exam that all individuals must pass in order to earn their RN license.
Don’t Miss: Tabor Hills Skilled Nursing Facility
Angelita Olowu Bsn Rn Sane
Angelita Olowu serves as a Forensic Nursing Specialist, providing training and technical assistance.
She has 12 years of nursing experience, and has practiced as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner since 2010. She received her certification for SANE-A in 2015 and SANE-P in 2016. Within her role as a full-time forensic nurse at Hillcrest Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Cleveland, OH, Angelita provided education and leadership to the forensic nursing staff, guidance around her patient population to the Hospital, and community education and outreach to various entities including schools, colleges and universities, and others on prevention and caring for those who have experienced trauma of personal violence.
She has served as a member of a hospital based Domestic Violence Committee, a hospital-based Child Protection Team, and the Cuyahoga County Child Advocacy Center Advisory Committee. She is a member of various professional organizations including IAFN, the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Response Team, and the Civil Rights Task Force. Additionally, she serves on a committee with the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking.
Karen Carroll Rn Sane
Karen serves as a Forensic Nursing Specialist, providing Training and Technical assistance. She has been a Registered Nurse for over 40 years. She is the past Nursing Director of the Forensic Acute Care Team in Westchester County, NY, the former Associate Director of the Bronx Sexual Assault Response Team, and the first Coordinator of the Westchester SANE Program. Karen received her training to become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in New York City in 1997 and has been nationally certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner of Adult and Adolescent patients since 2002, and Pediatric patients since 2014. She has been a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses since 1998, and the Past President of the NYS Chapter of the IAFN. She served as a Commissioner on the Forensic Nurse Certification Board and was the recipient of the IAFN Achievement Award in 2004. She has completed over 3000 forensic examinations and frequently provides expert witness testimony in criminal court for prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Ms. Carroll has made numerous presentations throughout the United States, Africa, Jordan, and Columbia on the topics of sexual assault, forensic examiner programs and her personal experience as a survivor of marital rape.
Karen appears as a mentor in the virtual practicum entitled Sexual Assault: Clinical and Forensic Management.
Karen has two sons and four grandchildren.
You May Like: Columbus State Nurse Practitioner Program
Associate Degree In Nursing
- Prerequisites: A high school diploma or GED successfully completing biology and chemistry courses is highly recommended.
- Curriculum: Core coursework will include nursing foundations, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and communications.
- Clinical requirements: Nursing students complete 700 clinical hours of training to earn their ADN. To gain relevant experience, nurses interested in forensic nursing should aim to spend as many hours as possible working with trafficking or sexual assault victims.
- Time to complete: 2 years of full-time study
Pursuing A Career As A Forensic Nurse
Forensic nurses help trauma victims by not only focusing on medical care, but also on the legal components of a crime such as identifying, evaluating, and documenting injuries and presenting evidence to law enforcement for criminal cases.
Forensic nurses help survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse, child and elder abuse, and other violent crime victims by focusing on short- and long-term physical and mental healthcare concerns. Forensic nurses do not replace other forensic professionals on an investigative teamsuch as crime scene investigators or forensic examinersbut instead, they bring a nursing perspective to an investigation. Forensic nursing takes a holistic approach to patient care.
Forensic nurses play an integral role in bridging the gap between law and medicine. They should be in each and every emergency room, Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in Forensic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice. Forensic nurses are foot soldiers in the response to and treatment of violence against women.
The foundation for all successful forensic nurses begins with a solid education as an advanced practice registered nurse , which includes earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a focus on forensic nursing.
Read Also: Ut Health Nursing School Requirements
S For Becoming A Forensic Nurse
Aspiring forensic nurses start the process by enrolling in an associates or a bachelors degree program in nursing. Due to the increased demand for forensic nursing, many nursing schools are now offering forensic science-related courses, such as victimology, forensic mental health, and perpetrator theory. Universities also offer forensic certification programs for nurses who have already earned their Registered Nurse license. Nurses should expect to complete continuing education credits based on their states requirements to periodically renew their nursing license. To become a forensic nurse, you will undergo a process similar to the one below.
*Optional. While getting an MSN in forensic nursing from an accredited program should make you more hirable, it may not be required to become an entry-level forensic nurse.
Forensic Nursing Degree And Certificate Programs
As an RN, one of the easiest ways to get started as a forensic nurse is to enroll in a forensic nursing program. Generally, these programs can be completed online in about twelve months after which youll earn a Forensic Nursing Certificate.
If youre interested in furthering your education even more, masters degree and PhD programs in forensic nursing are available at a variety of schools. Youll learn about the theories of violence, trial preparation, civil law, and other topics.
Recommended Reading: University Of Texas School Of Nursing
What Does A Forensic Nurse Do
Forensic nurses provide short- and long-term care to patients who have been victims of violent crimes such as:
- Sexual assault
- Child and elder abuse
- Attempted homicide
They also collect evidence to support criminal investigations, testify in trials, and assist coroners and pathologists in determining causes of death.
Forensic nursing is a good path for any nurse interested in improving and supporting the health and well-being of patients affected by violence, their families, and the communities they live in, says Nicole Stahlmann, MN, RN, SANE-A, AFN-BC, FNE-A, a forensic nursing specialist at the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Being able to work collaboratively with other disciplines like law enforcement, advocacy, and prosecution while maintaining fundamental adherence to nursing standards is a must.
In addition to caring for patients, forensic nurses collect evidence to support criminal investigations, testify in trials, and assist coroners and pathologists in determining causes of death.
What Do Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Do
Qualified SANE-A and SANE-P nurses spring into action once a rape or other sexual assault has been reported. They administer the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit . The SANE follows a multi-step procedure to collect the kit, explaining each chronological step to the patient as they examine them. The kit is then sealed and delivered to the appropriate authorities. Later on, a SANE may be asked to testify in court regarding the evidence collected. Studies have shown that evidence collected by SANE-certified nurses results in higher prosecution and conviction rates.
Aside from the clinical and legal aspects of working as a SANE, these nurses also provide important psychological and emotional comfort to sexual assault patients. A big part of their job is to make the victim feel safe, heard, and to help them heal.
Recommended Reading: Private Nursing Schools In Dallas Texas
Eight What Are The Continuing Education Requirements For Forensic Nurses
Clinical practice and continuing education requirements for renewing a nursing license, certification, and advanced practice certification vary by state and credentialing agency. Check with your state board and professional organization for the rules on keeping your RN license and certification up to date.
You can also visit our CNE Guide for details.
Kathleen Maguire Jd Bsn Bs Rn
Kathleen Maguire serves as the Director for the Association’s certification program , AFN-BC via portfolio).
Immediately prior to joining IAFN, Ms. Maguire had worked at ANCC as a Senior Editor–the only nurse in the department responsible for developing professional certification examinations for 36 different nursing specialties. Ms. Maguire began her career as a neuroscience research nurse at the National Institutes of Health , While at NIH, Ms. Maguire decided to obtain a law degree from Georgetown University, where she was hired upon graduation as a legal researcher, writer, and editor.
In addition to her full-time work addressing any and all issues related to forensic nursing certification, she has served as the Managing Editor of the Journal of Forensic Nursing and as the co-editor of the Core Curriculum for Forensic Nursing.
Read Also: Best Associate Degree Nursing Schools
Top Bachelors In Criminal Justice Programs
Below you can find details about the comparative earnings, costs, and payback rates of different bachelors in criminal justice programs. Please review our methodology for more information on what metrics we use, and how we determine comparative value between institutions.
The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) How earnings of the median graduate compared to their debt and 2) how graduate earnings compare to other graduates of the same program, in the same state. These two factors are referred to as debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus.
These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Educations College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System .
Earningsplus measures the difference in earnings between the median masters and bachelors graduate in the same field of study. This data is useful to compare earnings from different programs and to evaluate the additional value of a masters degree in a specific field.Field of study matching based on National Center for Education CIP Code classifications. Earnings comparison based on graduates within the same state.
A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings. Rule of thumb: students should avoid programs with a debt to earnings ratio above 1.