Forensic Nursing: C.S.I. meets E.R.
Forensic Nursing is the hottest new field in nursing; where health and legal systems intersect.
Early Days of Forensic Nursing
16th Century: forensic medicine focused on cause of death
18th Century: midwives testified in court on matters like (gulp) virginity, pregnancy, and rape.
1992: First certification of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), and a new field was born.
The “mother” of forensic nursing: Virginia Lynch is recognized.
• An emergency room nurse
• Visited a crime lab in 1982
• Became obsessed with forensics
Today’s forensic nurses were once called police medical officers
Police skills needed by forensic nurses:
• Preservation of evidence
Career Outlook for Forensic Nurses
1,810: Number of on-campus forensic nursing schools.
570,950: number of forensic nurses in the US.
659,750: Estimated number by 2018
The three largest forensic nursing schools in the US, by student population:
• Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
• Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)
• Ohio State University-Main Campus (Columbus, OH)
Best Online Forensic Nursing Programs:
• Kaplan University Doctor of Nursing Practice
• University of Phoenix Master of Science in Nursing
• Grand Canyon University Doctor of Nursing Practice
How to get there: Best career paths
• Continuing education courses supplement nursing degree programs.
• Certification programs have specific content, entrance requirements, and often a written examination.
• A minor or concentration in forensics is available in some university undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
• Formal graduate study builds on the foundation of the baccalaureate.
Today’s forensic nursing curriculums focus on:
• Perpetrator theory,
• Forensic mental health
• Forensic science
• Forensic law
• Interpersonal violence,
• Criminology, and
• Criminal justice
Once certified, forensic nurses specialize in…
• Sexual assault
• Domestic violence
• Child abuse and neglect
• Elder mistreatment
• Death investigation
• …the aftermath of mass disasters
The great reward: salaries are high
Forensic nurses: salaries vary but can range from $54,000 to $205,000 annually
Average for all nursing specialties: $65,000
By hour: Nationwide it’s estimated that the hourly salary for a forensic nurse varies from $26 to $100 per hour.
Consulting hovers over the $150/hour mark.
Top forensic nursing websites
• International Association of Forensic Nursing
• Forensic Nursing Blog
• American Forensic Nurses Inc.
• Forensic Nurse Professionals