Forensic nursing is an up and coming career field, and if you’re thinking of a job in nursing, you may be wondering how to become a forensic nurse. Forensic nursing is an intersection between the medical profession and the field of law. Forensic nurses can expert to treat victims of crime,collect medical evidence and assist in investigations, among other duties, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Common crimes involved in the field are sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.
Becoming a forensic nurse requires that you first become a registered nurse by attaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. A four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing tends to be the preferred degree for a nursing foundation because it is designed to prepare nursing students for further study. This degree offers additional coursework, providing students with the opportunity to learn such skills as critical thinking, clinical assessment and analysis of situations that will be needed on-the-job as a nurse. These skills are particularly useful in forensic nursing.
Coursework you can expect in your nursing foundation includes clinical nutrition, pathophysiology, physical assessment and pharmacology, among others. Clinical lab experience and rotations at a participating medical facility will give you the hands-on knowledge you need in order to be sure you are prepared to treat patients. This practical experience will give you exposure to various nursing specialties such as obstetrics, critical care, community health, pediatrics, surgical nursing and psychiatry. Upon completion of the academic and clinical components of your nursing degree, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Once you complete this step, you can obtain your RN credentials.
Postgraduate Coursework in Forensics
Once you’ve earned your degree to become an RN, you can then look into furthering your training by obtaining credentials in forensic nursing. There are a couple paths to how to become a forensic nurse. You can choose to attend a certification program in forensic nursing. These are usually short and can be found through nursing school postgraduate programs. Programs may consist of a series of lectures or a few semesters of coursework. They may even contain a practicum requirement. Certifications teach you skills such as investigating traumas, assessing injuries and identifying abuse.
A Master of Science in Forensic Nursing program is a more intensive option. It’s set up to give you the education needed to engage in clinical aspects of forensic nursing. Careers you may pursue with this MSN degree include nurse coroner, death investigator, legal nursing consultant and forensic psychiatric nurse, among others. This degree will prepare you to collaborate with legal authorities, assist in investigations, determine sexual or domestic abuse, analyze evidence and provide advanced documentation regarding the condition of patients related to violent crime.
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Forensic nursing is a dynamic career that’s growing in recent times. The skills of such nurses are valuable to communities and law enforcement. There are a number of ways in which you can contribute to the benefit of your fellow man with the skills learned through a forensic nursing program. Now that you know how to become a forensic nurse, you can begin pursuing your many options within the field.