Forensic Nurse

Robbi Oley

What is a Forensic Nurse

Forensic Nurses help investigate crimes like sexual and physical assault, and accidental death. They are trained in medical evidence collection and the criminal justice system. As a Forensic Nurse, your job will be detail-oriented, with most of your time spent in hospital emergency rooms, helping interpret any first signs of foul play. You’ll also testify in court as an expert medical witness.

How to become a Forensic nurse

  • Get your Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

  • Pass YourNational Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)

  • Pass YourPediatric, or Adolescent/Adult Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification exam

  • Become aCertified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

how forensic nurses are used in the field

Forensic Nurse’s address the psychological, physical and social trauma of victims. They work in law enforcement agencies, for social service agencies, medical examiners offices and specialized hospital units. They are advocates for the victims, speaking on their behalf to get them the protection and help they need to heal physically, emotionally and mentally. Forensic nurses are one of the first healthcare workers to examine and collect physical evidence from victims of crime in hospital emergency departments.

real cases

Mohajer v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 579 S.E. 2d 359 (Va. Ct. App. 2003)

The victim was assaulted by the defendant while receiving a professional massage. The defendant appealed his convictions of forcible sodomy and animate object penetration. The defendant argued the trial court erred in allowing the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to state an expert opinion regarding the cause of the victim’s injuries and by finding the evidence sufficient to support his convictions. The appellate court disagreed and stated the nurse did not have to be licensed to practice medicine to express an expert opinion on the cause of injuries in an alleged sexual assault victim. The court further stated the nurse only offered her expert opinion as to the victim's injuries in terms of whether or not the injuries were consistent or inconsistent with consensual sexual intercourse.

What Is Forensic Nursing?