Forensic nurses have an exciting and delicate job of being a nurse and an investigator. They not only perform the tasks required for treating victims of crime and providing moral support to them but also act as examiners. They tend to assist the patients to recover emotionally and physically after a harrowing experience. Forensic nurses also work as detectives or investigators in a clinical setting.
Before getting into the field of forensic nursing, one should be aware of the education and nature of work. Here’s the educational requirement and work structure of a forensic nurse.
To qualify, first one needs 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. Then after this, one can apply for the registered nurse (RN) program, which is a prerequisite for forensic nursing.
Once obtained the RN degree, which took two to four years, one can opt for forensic nursing. The candidate may be required to choose an area of specialization such as: counseling, criminology, general forensic nursing, pediatrics and psychology, among others. Then, after graduating from this program, candidate may have to study further for an approved nursing program in the field of forensics.
Forensic nursing programs offer specialty in various fields. There are forensic clinical nurse, forensic gerontology specialist, forensic psychiatric nurse, death investigator and sexual assault examiner, forensic investigator, among others. These courses are offered in traditional schools and/or through on-line colleges.
After the completion of the course, one can join as an intern or take up a residence program. After this, candidate may apply for the license of a forensic nurse. For this one must have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLE), conducted by the state.
A requirement to start a career, one should have to get a certificate from the Forensic Nursing Certification Board (FNCB) of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN).
Then, once one has completed the formalities and requirements, applicant can work as a full-fledged forensic nurse. The salary of a forensic nurse may range from approximately USD 54,000-208,000 on an annual basis. Just like in other industry, the compensations are availed based on the experience, location and work of the individual.
One should have the passion both in the medical field and forensic to be able to become a good forensic nurse.