How to Become a Forensic Nurse
There are many career paths you can take when you become a nurse. One path that many modern nurses are choosing to get into is forensic nursing. This career involves being both a medical professional as well a crime scene investigator. A forensic nurse tends to the injuries of the people that come under their care. However, they must also collect evidence that will give them and law enforcement a clue as to who perpetrated the crime as well as help convict the guilty party. If you have always wanted to have a hand in carrying out justice, then this may be the career field for you. Here is how to become a forensic nurse.
The first step is to become a Registered Nurse. The forensic nurse program is a post graduate degree certificate that you earn in 1 – 2 years. All schools that offer this degree require you to have both a bachelor’s degree as well as be an RN due to the amount of technical knowledge you need to be successful in the career. There are a number of schools that offer RN programs both online and offline. It is a good idea to research the schools that are out there which offers a program that fits your lifestyle and career goals.
Once you have obtained your RN, it is time to work on getting your forensic nursing certificate. In addition to being a regular forensic nurse, you can also specialize in several areas of expertise. These concentrations include correctional nursing, sexual assault nurse examiner, gerontology, nurse coroner/death investigator, legal nurse consultant, and community educator. To determine which specialty you would like to concentrate on, it is best to research each one to see what is involved with the work. For example, gerontology nurses investigate cases involving abuse or neglect of the elderly.
After finishing your basic certification, you should check to see if you need other certificates specific to your concentration. For example, forensic nurses who specialize in sexual assault will also need to obtain SANE-A or SANE-P licensing so that they can work directly with victims of sexual assault. Once you have completed your education and obtained your certifications, you can begin applying for jobs in the industry. If you are having a hard time becoming employed, you may want to consider doing an internship of some kind to get your foot in the door. It is best to network with other forensic nurses and mentors who can help you map out the best career path for you.