What Is a Forensic Nurse Practitioner?

Are you interested in caring for assault victims or stopping domestic abuse? Forensic nurse practitioners apply the principles of both healthcare and forensics in their positions in emergency rooms, primary care facilities, abuse clinics, and elsewhere. Schools offering Family Nurse Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Forensic nurses are registered practitioners who've specialized in caring for both assault victims and culprits. In this position, you may work in emergency rooms, gathering evidence for court proceedings, and you may testify as an expert witness. You'll often communicate with law enforcement and judicial officers.

As a forensic nurse, you must be able to identify the causes of wounds, preserve evidence, and provide individualized care for the victimized patient. Within forensic nursing, special areas of focus include sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. You'll participate in programs to educate the public about abuse and violence.

Important Facts About Forensic Nurse Practitioners

Median Salary (2019) $91,765 (for forensic nurses)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all registered nurses)**
Key Skills Customer focused, clear spoken and written communication, excellent judgment and decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, time management, close listening
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants; EMTs; paramedics; licensed practical nurses; licensed vocational nurses; nurse practitioners

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Training and Education

To become a forensic nurse practitioner, you'll likely need a master's degree or graduate certificate in forensic nursing. To enter one of these programs, you'll need to have a bachelor's degree and up-to-date RN licensure. Either program teaches you to identify common violent injuries, as well as exploring procedures for identifying domestic abuse injuries, collecting and preserving evidence that can withstand court examination, and submitting expert testimony in court.

You'll learn about the law and judicial proceedings as they relate to healthcare. Courses will also explore the techniques for dealing with psychological trauma and practicing proper clinical behavior. They'll educate you about the reasons for violence and abuse and the means of prevention and detection. Classes you may take include the following:

  • Criminal law
  • Domestic violence
  • Pathology
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Nursing practicum

A nursing practicum may also be included, and it gives you the opportunity to practice your education in a clinical setting, working with other skilled professionals and experiencing the daily workload.

Licensure

To practice nursing, you must obtain licensure by taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Each state has its own board of nursing that dictates requirements for participating in the examination. Although certification isn't mandatory, some employers may look for or even require it. Certification proves that you're fully competent to serve as a forensic nurse, and it may enhance your employability. In 2019, the Forensic Nursing Certification Board offered two credentials: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (Adult/Adolescent and Pediatric). It also offers certification as an Advanced Forensic Nurse in collaboration with American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    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

  • Northern Illinois University

    Northern Illinois University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northern Illinois University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    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

    Online Programs Available

  • Miller-Motte College

    Miller-Motte College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Miller-Motte College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    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

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »