Forensic nurses help with investigations of various physical crimes such as sexual assault and violence, or accidental or purposeful deaths. Using their medical expertise within the criminal justice system requires knowledge and training in the collection of medical evidence and evidentiary procedures. Though most time will be spent in a hospital or emergency-room setting, some cases may require forensic nurses to testify as medical expert witnesses for criminal trials, requiring an ability to accurately describe the details and findings of the medical evidence collected, and provide a professional opinion based on the facts of the case.
Skills and Duties
- Take physical samples of blood and tissue for testing and analysis
- Inspect, measure, and document injuries
- Collect other bodily or physical evidence related to crime.
- Console and comfort victims of assault, violence, or criminal incidents.
- Empathy and a good bedside manner are required in high-stress situations.
- Investigative skills and knowledge of evidence collecting procedures.
- Communication skills for cooperating with investigators and guiding the victim throughout the process.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific salary information for forensic nurses, but as of 2016 the median pay for all registered nurses was $68,450 per year*
By 2026, the job growth for all registered nurses is expected to grow at a rate of 15%*