If you would like to work in both nursing and criminal justice, you may want to become a forensic nurse. Forensic nursing is a nursing subspecialty where the fields of healthcare and law intersect. Not only does a nurse in this specialty area help to treat patients who have been injured because of an assault or another type of criminal activity, they also help collect evidence to assist prosecution with building their case. If you want to work in this practice of nursing where you can help victims get justice, you need to start planning. Here are the steps that you will need to take to go from school to forensic nurse specialist.
Become a Licensed Nurse
Anyone who wants to work in forensic nursing will need to first earn their degree to become a generalist as a registered nurse. To become an RN, there are several pathways that you can take. If you are planning on pursuing a specialty like this, you should commit to taking a 4-year Bachelor of Science program majoring in Nursing. After you have earned your BSN curriculum and completed all of the clinical requirements, you can take the uniform NCLEX-RN exam and get your license to practice in your state. As a licensed RN, you can start to learn about the practice as a whole until you are ready to be a specialist.
Decide on a Pathway to Go From Generalist to Specialist
After you have worked as an RN, it is time to map out just how you will go from generalist to specialist. The pathway that you take to advance your career will depend on where you live and what is required. Many public law enforcement agencies will hire RN’s with experience as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses. A SANE is a specialist in forensic accounting and must have completed no less than 40 hours of clinical training and 40 hours of classroom training before you can earn the title.
In some locals, it is possible to become a death investigator or even a coroner when you are an RN. You will be required to take a Death Investigator specialist training course before you will be considered. In many areas, candidates will only be considered if they have an advanced master’s degree in forensic nursing.
What is the Demand Like in Forensic Nursing?
It is very important to research career outlook whenever you are planning to go back to school. According to research conducted by Nurse Journal, there is a probability that the field will grow by 26% within the next 10 years. This is much higher than the average growth reported in the nation of 9%. Since the job outlook is so positive and the position requires advanced training, now is the time to start expanding your knowledge base.
Related Resource: MBA in Health Care Administration
If you are ready to change the direction of your career in nursing, it is time to start looking for schools that offer training for the Sexual Assault Examiner Certification exam. Once you have the full 80 hours of advanced training under your belt, you can schedule your test date and try and earn your professional certification. Once you are certified, you will be ready to help with police investigations while you help victims. Review these steps to become a forensic nurse and you can help keep the community safe.