What Can I Do with a Forensic Nursing Degree?

Graduate-level programs in forensic nursing are offered by many four-year institutions and can prepare you for a variety of job options within the field. If you want to know how you can help victims of assault, abuse or neglect through nursing, keep reading. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Forensic Nursing Degree Overview

A forensic nursing program - either a certificate or a Master of Science in Nursing degree earned online or on campus - teaches registered nurses the clinical and scientific approaches to forensic nursing. The coursework imparts comprehensive knowledge of legal processes and procedures relevant to your role in civil and criminal cases. A degree program may also prepare you to take the Sexual Assault Nursing Exam (SANE).

Important Facts About a Career in Forensic Nursing

Professional CertificationAdvanced Forensic Nursing Board Certification (AFN-BC) through the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN)
Key SkillsCritical-thinking, communication, compassion, detail-oriented, emotional stability, organizational skills, and physical stamina
Continuing EducationLive (in-person) training and webinars offered by the IAFN
Similar OccupationsEMTs, paramedics, social workers, physician assistants, nurse practitioner

Work at a Hospital or Health Facility

With a forensic nursing degree, you might work as a forensic nurse or sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) at a hospital, or as an independent consultant for law enforcement. You would be responsible for examining patients, mostly in emergency room situations. You would first help to treat injuries, but you'd also obtain a patient's medical history and obtain physical evidence of abuse or assault for law enforcement.

You would work to develop a rapport with the men, women and children you'd care for, in order to act as a patient advocate during the examination process, giving them vital information on sexually transmitted diseases and abuse, in addition to answering any concerns regarding injuries and other potential health concerns, including pregnancy. You might also provide information to patients about advocacy organizations and related assistance.

Work with Children and Families

Forensic nurses may work with health care providers directly or as contractors with public health agencies. They could assist families who are dealing with issues such as sexual and physical abuse or neglect of spouses, children, dependent adults or senior citizens. You could work with child, victim or senior advocacy departments and community medical organizations. You might also perform some clinical nursing work and record relevant evidence to share with law enforcement.

Work with the Legal System

Typical job duties of forensic nurses may include working closely with law enforcement and victims' services, as well as testifying in court regarding evidence you've collected. You would follow an established chain of custody protocol to properly collect, preserve and pass on evidence to law enforcement. Part of your job might include preparing written reports.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The number of working registered nurses - a category that includes forensic nurses - was expected to grow 16% during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is much faster than the national average for all career fields. As of 2014, the median salary among all registered nurses was $66,640.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available