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Forensic Nurse

Of all the fascinating careers within the nursing industry, there may be a few more interesting than the forensic nursing career. In this job you will care for victims and possibly perpetrators of crime. Your duty is to collect evidence surrounding the circumstances of an incident, essentially acting as part of the legal system.  Forensic nurses handle cases of domestic violence, trauma, abuse, and cases of neglect. They check for wounds, injuries, and even potential causes of death. 

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Education Necessary for Forensic Nurse

The educational requirements to become a forensic nurse will largely depend on the hospital or establishment you’re applying for.  In some hospitals, forensic nursing jobs require at least a BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing).  Forensic Nursing can also be found as a concentration or specialty within a MSN degree (masters of science in nursing).   In a forensic nursing specialty, you can expect to study in areas such as sexual assaults nursing, expert medical witness, and nurse death investigation.

There is not currently a certification for forensic nursing, but most forensic nurses should be a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.  This can be done through the International Association of Forensic Nurses under its Forensic Nursing Certification Board (FNCB).

Online nursing programs are available through schools such as Kaplan, St. Xavier University in Chicago, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, George Washington University, East Carolina University, Loyola University New Orleans, University of Alabama – Huntsville, University of Texas Medical Branch -Galveston, and Florida State University.

Forensic Nursing Salary

RN salary will definitely fluctuate based on your level of experience as well as your expertise and specialty training. In specialty nursing careers such as forensic nursing, salary can range between $55,000 and $180,000 per year depending on level of experience, number of cases per year, and location of the job. Hourly salary for forensic nurses can range between $30 and $100.  Some hospitals pay per case which averages $400.  Salary jobs are more likely to provide benefits such as life insurance and medical/dental coverage.