Types of Forensic Nursing Degrees Available
A forensic nurse is new profession that has grown out of the need to have medical professionals who think like law enforcement agents. These nurses are dedicated hospital workers that help to treat victims of traumatic crimes such as sexual assault or other violent crimes. Their jobs are to care for the patient’s physical wounds while collecting forensic evidence of the crime to turn over to law enforcement officials. A forensic nurse must be efficient enough to gather the evidence within the 72 hour window while still maintaining empathy and taking care to avoid causing the patient further trauma. If forensic nursing sounds like the career for you, here are some types of forensic nursing degrees you can obtain.
Forensic nursing degrees require a graduate level education. Specifically, you will earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree with specialization in forensic nursing. Typically the program lasts for two years and you must be an RN in order to enter. Besides the general degree, nurses can further specialize in this field. Some of the specialties include becoming a sexual assault nurse who handles rape cases and other sexual trauma. Certification is required to obtain this credential which includes passing an examination. You can pursue a SANE-P certificate which will allow you to work with kids or a SANE A certificate which will license you to work with teens and adults.
Another forensic nursing degree specialty is correctional nursing which allows nurses to provide medical services to people who are in jail, correctional facilities and juvenile offender institutions. General duties include dispensing medication, routine exams and caring for the ill. The rise in elder abuse cases has created a need for forensic gerontology specialists. These nurses work in nursing care facilities and hospitals. Their main duty is to investigate cases where neglect, exploitation or abuse of elders is suspected.
Forensic nurse investigators work in the coroner’s or medical examiner’s office. Their job is to determine the cause of violent or unexpected deaths by collecting a variety of information about the victim including their medical history, social connections and evidence found on the body. Forensic psychiatric nursing is another specialty degree you can obtain. Nurses in this field work with people who have psychological, behavioral or social disorders. Most work with criminal offenders however some also treat people who have been witnesses to violent crimes or have experienced emotional trauma. There are many forensic nursing degrees you can obtain. Research all of your options and find the best one for you.