What Is the Job Description of a Forensic Nurse?

Forensic nurses help victims of violent crimes who have been injured. Read on to see if a job as forensic nurse, providing medical care and compiling evidence, could be in your future. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Occupation Overview

Your most important duty as a forensic nurse is to pinpoint and collect data that will help convict criminals of violent crimes. You will help scientific investigators in the discovery and analysis of crime scenes and evidence. To do this, you'll need to be familiar with the proper methods for photographing, storing, and documenting evidence.

Additionally, you'll serve a care-giving role, evaluating victims' mental and physical health as well as collecting their testimonies. You may also continue to work with these survivors to restore their mental health during and after their court cases. During legal proceedings, you may be called into trials to testify as fact or expert witnesses.

You may find employment with various organizations, including:

  • Public or private hospitals
  • Coroners' offices
  • Tissue and organ donation centers
  • Pediatric wings
  • Correctional centers
  • Psychiatric wards

Important Facts About Forensic Nurses

Required Education Associate's degree
On-the-Job Training Field specializations available, work experience required for advancement
Key Skills Attention to detail, critical thinking, problem solving, social awareness, organization, clear communication
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, nurse practitioners, EMTs, paramedics

Specialties in the Field

As a forensic nurse, you may work in different areas of medical care. You may find work in the psychiatric unit, emergency room, or pediatric unit. You may also serve as a general consultant for a whole facility, such as a human rights nurse or bioterrorism nurse. Other options include working as a medical-legal consultant or a child abuse nurse. Two of the most common areas of forensic nursing are in sexual assault and death investigation.

Sexual Assault Examiner (SAE)

Your job as a sexual assault examiner is to collect evidence that will help prosecute the perpetrator of the sexual assault. You'll provide care for sexual assault victims as evidence is collected and during the recovery process. While caring for patients, you'll examine both their mental and physical health. Your records on the patient's physical and mental status, evidence you have collected and other observations may be used in legal proceedings.

Forensic Nurse Death Investigator (FNDI)

A death investigator may serve as the coroner or work with coroners, calling time of death, photographing the body and performing the autopsy. As a death investigator, you'll work with pathologists to determine the cause of death and to see if a crime was committed. You'll also assemble evidence from the crime scene to support your proposed cause of death.

Salary Statistics and Employment Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to forensic nursing, it does publish data pertinent to registered nurses. All forensic nurses must also be licensed as RNs, which requires completing a nursing program and passing the NCLEX exam for registered nurses. The BLS predicts that the employment of registered nurses will likely grow by 19% between 2012 and 2022. RNs were reported to have earned median salaries of $66,640 in May 2014 stated the BLS.

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

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    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

  • 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

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »