Tips for a successful Certified Forensic Nursing Career
Forensic nurses have more responsibilities than other types of nurses. In addition to their roles as medical professionals, forensic nurses must be able to follow legal procedures for evidence collection. Most forensic nurse examiners have advanced degrees and certifications such as the CFN (Certified Forensic Nurse) designator. If you wish to work in this field, you will need a high level of education and years of experience as a Registered Nurse. Although there are no standard certification or degree requirements, the CFN is one of the most popular certifications available. Requirements for this designator are similar to that of the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) and other popular certifications.
Before you can think about becoming a Certified Forensic Nurse, you will need to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Becoming an RN will require either a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many nurses start with an ADN, as this allows them to enter the workforce and gain hands-on experience right away. Some hospitals also offer special RN to BSN programs to help nurses further their education. Getting your degree this way can help you save both money and time.
The Certified Forensic Nurse certification also has several other requirements. You will need to have a current RN license and three years of experience in the United States. You will also need to complete a forensic nursing program that is at least three hours long. The American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI) that offers the CFN also offers an Introduction to Forensic Nursing course that will fulfill this requirement. You might also consider getting an advanced degree such as a Master of Science in Nursing if you wish to advance your career. Finally, you will need to be an ACFEI member, have two references, and validate your competency as a forensic nurse.
Certified Forensic Nurses are not yet in high demand, but job opportunities will increase as society recognizes the contributions of forensic nurses. Although a Certified Forensic Nurse may find employment in a hospital, many forensic nurses work in correctional facilities, insurance companies, coroner’s offices, medical examiner’s offices and psychiatric facilities. Consulting can also be a lucrative job opportunity. Although these nurses do not have the highest pay, you can expect to earn more than most RNs – as much as $70 per hour. Earning a degree or certification in forensic nursing can open the door to a rewarding new career.