Acting as part nurse and part forensic analyst, forensic nurses are trained in the medical collection of evidence for the criminal justice system and investigate crimes such as physical assault, sexual assault, child/elder abuse and neglect, domestic abuse, and accidental deaths. Forensic nurses go beyond the typical duties of a medical nurse and approach nursing from a law enforcement and forensics angle. This makes forensic nursing duties a great deal more specialized than nurses traditionally perform.
Forensic nurses typically work in hospital emergency rooms (ERs), but some work inside of laboratories and nearly all testify in a court of law. Posted in most emergency rooms around the country, forensic nurses are there to interpret signs of foul play, react to cases of neglect or assault, collect and secure evidence in sexual/physical assaults, and to provide assurances and support to patients.
Skills and Duties
- Perform sexual assault examinations
- Perform physical assault examinations
- Collect tissue and blood samples
- Photograph and measure wounds/injuries
- Collect vital evidence that may exist on the victim's body
- Provide support for victims
- Testify as an expert medical witness in court
Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
Common Courses: Nursing, Anatomy, Microbiology, Physiology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Psychology, Clinical Coursework
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Common Courses: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Calculus, Nursing, Nutrition, Psychology, Physiology, Anatomy, Clinical, Nursing Theory, Nursing Processes, Mathematics, English, Leadership, Communication, Critical Thinking
National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
To become certified as a forensic nurse (and a Registered Nurse), one must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Nursing students who have earned their Associate of Science in Nursing are qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN and apply for licensure as an RN.