Forensic Nurse

Nhi Dang

Job Description

Forensic Nurses can specialize in different type of fields like physical assault and accidental death. They are not only trained to investigate and collect medical evidences, but also trained in the criminal justice system.


There are various paths to become a forensic nurse, but it all starts with being a Registered Nurse (RN) first.

  • Get an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) which takes 2 years or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) which takes 4 years.
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination also known as the NCLEX-RN which gives you the license to practice Nursing or a RN.

Although there is no real certification to becoming a general Forensic Nurse, you can start with being certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner; that would need a few years of experience to be eligible for certification exams.

  • Pass the Pediatric or Adolescent/Adult Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification exam.
  • Lastly, become a Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

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Working Conditions

Forensic Nurses are often on their feet and do lab works to ensure that evidences collected from the bodies of the victims to the suspected criminals are examined propertly to be used in court. These nurses are usually with people not and not alone at all. They should get used to the "emergency room" settings because work life will be hectic; on-call schedule is set up, when you're called in, no matter day or night, you have to be by the hospital by 30-40 minutes.
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Personal Characteristics

  • Fast-paced
  • Structured
  • Patient
  • Research-oriented
  • Observant
  • Sympathetical
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Earning & Job Outlook

The median wage for RNs in 2010 are $64,690. The lowest 10% earned as little as $44,190 while the top 10% earned as much as $95,130; keep in mind that the salary does vary depending on the location and experiences of a forensic nurse.

Forensic Nurses are RNs just specialized. It is not hard to find work at all since forensic nurses are the fastest growing nursing subspecialty, every emergency room everywhere (big and little city) will want a Forensic Nurse.

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