Forensic Nursing

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Forensic Nursing

Is there anyone who hasn’t a single watched medical/criminal TV series? I’m sure the majority of the people have at least watched one medical-criminal TV series where there is always an individual wearing a white coat in the crime scene, they are called forensic specialist/forensic nurses! Forensic nursing is where legal systems and healthcare systems intersect. Forensic nurses are part of the legal investigations team in a crime scene or in any unresolved situations where legal enforcers are needed.

They are skilled at recognizing inconsistencies that help resolve medical issues and they act as a bridge between legal and the healthcare systems. Forensic nurses are vital into solving irregular medical issues as they have full authority both in a crime scene and in the forensic lab; they also work in various other fields. The profession of forensic nursing is very unique because it blends nursing, science, and the legal system together and makes something challenging and thrilling.

Forensic nurses and their roles

Forensic nurses are the pioneers of building connections among two very different practice or systems. Their profession is noble as well as thrilling; there is never a boring day. A forensic nurse is basically someone who works with crime victims/abuse victims/crime scene to gather medical evidence and provide expert testimony that can be used in court; they usually have a keen observation skill, they are the ones who are responsible for detecting irregularities in the bodies of victims or the criminal. Forensic nurses primarily focus on three important duties – 

  • Provide compassionate care
  • Gather evidence
  • Testify in courts

Forensic nurses provide compassionate care to victims of abuse, harassment or any other violent crime. These forms of victims can be broken down even further, for example a victim of sexual harassment or child abuse or domestic violence; these types of victims are usually in trauma or going through serious physical and emotional wreckage.

The forensic nurses provides them compassion and tends to their injuries, since these types of victims are sensitive to handle with, they tend to heal the victims from the psychological point of view. They work on more personal level with the victims than any other forms of healthcare members.

When they are on a crime scene, they are given the full privilege to work on the scene and find evidence or clue that will help the ongoing investigation, they usually work in a group of 2 or 3 unless the crime scene is massive.
They are also eligible to give testimony in court, these nurses use their medical and criminology training to evaluate and document suspicious behaviors and activities.

They are also allowed to act as a witness during the trial of an investigation. Apart from their regular duties, what they also do is work with coroners and investigates deaths and epidemics and deals the statistical reports which are provided to the investigators.

Forensic nurses also play a massive role during mass disaster or crisis situations; they are called during these situations because they are trained to deal with disasters and psychological crisis situations. They know what to do and use their training to help the civilians to safety.

Career as a forensic nurse

Forensic Nursing

It’s no doubt that violence is a healthcare issue, forensic nurses can also be thought of as a humanitarian worker because their work helps victims find shelter and they work to end violence. Their work helps legal enforcers catch culprits. They are important members of the criminal justice system.

A forensic nurse has to be very organized and detail-oriented because they work with evidence and medical irregularities. They are usually very deft in and quick in what they do. They are committed to the core as they need to testify in the court very often. They always need to be cautious and precise because their medical verdict can change a lot of things in a case.

Forensic nursing can very challenging both physically and emotionally. They are always working with victims and murders so they need to have strong mental fortitude. Forensic nursing as a career is not meant for everyone, this field is extremely challenging and nerve wrecking but if you are someone who seeks thrill and has unwavering mental endurance then a career in forensic nursing is suitable for you.

According to the International Association of Forensic Nursing (IAFN), The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment rate of forensic nursing will grow at a rate of 15% till 2024. The states in the US with the highest projected demand are Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, Washington, Georgia, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Alaska, Rhode Island, Maine, Montana, South Carolina, and Hawaii. You can find jobs easily if you have the required skills and knowledge, many government and non-government employers will hire you depending on your skills and experience.

Apart from the growing need of nurses, the crime rate and violence is increasing gradually in different parts of the world, thousands of peoples around the world suffer from violence every day, there are victims of all kinds of violence, for example sexual violence, child abuse, domestic abuse etc. That is why forensic nurses are a high demand nowadays.

Salaries of a Forensic Nurse

Forensic Nursing

The salary of a forensic nurse can vary depending on where they work and how experienced they are. Not all the parts of the world offer good salaries to the forensic nurses, if there is a high crime rate in a specific area then that area has high demands for a forensic nurse. The low crime-rate areas don’t quite specifically is in demand of forensic nurses. So it is important to research before you choose your workplace.

Consider the geographical location and area of your interest. The BLS reports that in 2016, the median annual income for nurse practitioners was $100,910. 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. They receive an average salary of more than $50,000 a year regardless of they work.

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