With the continuing rise in crime rates, forensic nursing is quickly becoming a popular part of the American judicial system. Forensic nursing is one of the newest forms of forensic sciences recognized by the American Nurses Association. The new field combines the health care profession with the judicial system.
Nurses trained in forensic nursing are needed to quickly and appropriately gather evidence that can be used in a court of law. Along with gathering forensic information, they also testify in trials of their jurisdictions.
The appeal of forensic nursing is mainly with victims of violence. Multiple people are seeing victims, social workers, doctors, the police etc. This can be hard on the victim. Having one expert that can do everything from start to finish including going to trial would make it a lot less stressful for the victim.
Because forensic nursing is such a new and growing specialty, it offers great opportunities for recent nursing graduates and experienced RN’s looking for a career change.
In 1992, approximately seventy nurses gathered together in Minneapolis, Minnesota as the first national convention for sexual assault nurses. This convention led to the founding of the IAFN, the International Association of Forensic Nurses.
Their mission statement was the concept of nurses willing to devote their energy and resources to develop a role in nursing that can have a impact on the future of forensic science and the health care industry.
Forensic nurses practice in many diverse fields. They range from nurses who specialize in domestic violence, emergency trauma, and sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE’s), witch SANE’s are often the entry point into forensic nursing. Forensic nurses may also serve as legal nurse consultants or attorneys.
The education for forensic nursing vary. Degree programs are available in forensic nursing but are not required for entry into the profession. Certification courses required for the SANE program is a good start.
The employers of forensic nursing specialists vary as well. They include acute healthcare facilities, correctional institutions, county prosecutors, coroner’s offices, medical examiner’s offices, insurance companies, and psychiatric facilities.
Another opportunity is working independently on a per job basis to all of these employers – starting a forensic nursing business.
The industry of forensic nursing is only getting more and more attractive to nurses that really want to make a difference in the community around them. It’s an opportunity for them to help victims of violence and helping the perpetrators of violence to get help.