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How to Become a Forensic Nurse

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Forensic Nurse

Nurseist.com aims to provide the nurses with the best guidelines and information they need to be successful in their career. Nurses always try to provide you with resourceful information so that you can be informed properly from the US and need not to search for other sources!

We believe! Studying Nursing is a great matter!!   

But when you are at the beginning of your career you should know your choice of profession. You should find out in which topics you are interested in Neonatal? Hospice? Or Forensic.

You should know what courses to be covered, the steps to complete the study procedures, and learn the particular responsibilities. 

By the way !! 

If you like extreme level challenges and have curiosity in detecting!!  Then Forensic Nursing could be an option for you. 

Like other advanced nursing specialties, forensic nursing has its own pros and cons too. Forensic nursing as a career is not meant for everyone, this field is extremely challenging and nerve wracking but if you are someone who seeks thrill and has unwavering mental endurance then a career in forensic nursing is suitable for you.

Beside Challenges, Forensic Nursing has great flexibility too. Forensic nurses have more fields to work in than any other nursing specialty. You can work in 

  • Private and Public Hospitals
  • Forensic Labs and Bureau
  • Community Anti-violence Programs. 
  • Psychiatric care facilities
  • Correctional facilities
  • You can also work as medical examiners in nursing universities and also work for corrections institutions.

So how is it exactly thrilling? 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 in solving irregular medical issues as they have full authority both in a crime scene and in the forensic lab. Forensic nurses are the pioneers of building connections among two very different practices 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 Nurse Requirements

To become a Forensic Nurse you need these essential skills –

Active Listening: Be kind and sympathetic. Listening to others without interruption.

Critical Thinking: Think deeply and critically to find out solutions and solve problems.

Communication: Good communication skill is needed for teamwork. The ability to communicate effectively is a must.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to assist Victims.

Social Perceptiveness: Recognizing the reactions of victims.

Also, You need to have a clear understanding of the following subjects –

Biology: To have basic understanding of human body structure
Sociology: Recognizing the dynamics and behavior of a group
Psychology: In order to gain a better knowledge of human behavior and reactions
Mathematics: For the purposes of calculating various metrics and verifying drug dose.

As part of that, you need to have sound knowledge of crime, cases, law enforcement. Having good management and organization skills is necessary too to keep track records of patients.

You should have the potential to understand people’s situations, especially how to handle traumatized victims and spot crime scenes.

Now if you are still contemplating a career in forensic nursing then the following information is for you –

Step 1: Earn a degree and become a RN.

As forensic nursing is an advanced specialized field, first to become one, a nursing student must become an RN first.

The quickest way to become an RN is by earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), it is a 2 year program but the only problem is that this program is not sufficient for many healthcare organizations thus it becomes tough to find a job.

The most proficient way is to by earning a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, it’s a 4 year program and it can be done from any nursing college or university. There is also a diploma in nursing which takes about 3 years to complete.

If you need you can also get information from us about some of the best institutions and online programs for forensic nurses in another blog.

Step 2: Get Licensed.

Forensic Nurse

After graduating, the nurses need a state approval so that they can start working in a clinic or any healthcare organization so they need to take an examination which is called the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). In order to earn a state level license and work freely, they need to pass this exam.

Step 3: Garner experience and earn an advanced degree.

Since forensic nursing is pretty critical, most forensic employers want their applicants to be well experienced in nursing fields, at least about 2 to 3 years.

Most students start as LPN or RN, they accumulate experience and eventually move further up in the rank or position according to their performance. When they have enough experience, they can apply for a Master’s degree in forensic nursing. A Master’s or doctoral degree in forensic nursing is required to become a forensic nurse.

An advanced degree such as the Master’s or the doctoral program will provide you with relevant information about forensic nursing and will give you an opportunity to earn experience inside your desired field. You will gain experience in the following fields – clinical forensic roles, teaching, legal nurse consulting, research, forensic psychiatric nursing, etc. There are also other relevant programs in the curriculum of a Master’s or doctoral degree program; such as the violence prevention programs and the understanding of the criminal justice system.

Step 4: Certification

Forensic Nurse

Always remember that earning an advanced degree in forensics won’t give you a guaranteed job, which is why you need to get certified to find out that which expertise in forensic nursing suits you the best, and this is extremely important because not all fields of forensic nursing will appeal to you. Getting certified will help you match your skills and expertise with your desired field.

There are two kinds of certification – one is offered as sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) and the other is Advanced Forensic Nursing Certification (AFN-BC), both are given
by IAFN (International Association for Forensic Nurses).

SANE is also divided with SANE-A & SANE-P.

SANE-A is for working with adults and adolescents and SANE-P is for working with pediatric patients. Applicants will have to sit for exams with the prerequisite of 2 years of RN experience, sufficient nursing knowledge and other criteria set by the Forensic Nursing Certification Board. Advanced Forensic Nursing Certification (AFN-BC) is the popular certification among the two, the applicants don’t have to sit for exams but rather by submitting their career portfolio with all their experience, education and achievement.

The IAFN (International Association for Forensic Nurses) in partnership with the American Nurses Credentialing Center gives the certification. Candidates can sit for or apply for the certification twice a year, in May and October both in the US and internationally. Before deciding on which advanced field to chase, The IAFN recommends that you should first gather all info and materials of your desired field, especially for the field in forensics. A job in the forensic field can affect you psychologically if you’re not prepared for it as it deals with victims and crimes most of the time. So look before you leap.

Now if it’s come to your mind which program to obtain your first?  DEGREE OR CERTIFICATE? Which is more valuable? If you are still undecided about whether you should pursue a forensic nursing degree first or a certificate to advance your career? Then we are here to let you know more about Certificate VS Degree in Forensic Nursing.

Forensic Nursing Internship 

If you think you’ll need some hands-on experience in forensic work before getting a job, you can add an internship program to your educational courses after you finish your education. Joining a private or public hospital or forensic lab as an intern will provide you with a deeper understanding of forensic procedures. 

Nurseist always point you in the best direction for starting your career. Whatever your professional ambitions are! You can rely on our website to provide you with the most up-to-date information about the nursing industry.

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