Forensic nurses cooperate with police and other law enforcement agencies in the clinical investigation of various crimes. Depending on their location and specific job responsibilities, they might collect evidence, diagnose trauma or treat people injured during the commission of a crime.
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To specialize in forensic nursing, one must first become a Registered Nurse (RN). This usually requires a two- to four-year course of study that results in one of three initial nursing degrees: Associate of Science Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) or a Registered Nurse degree from an RN Diploma Program, often referred to as a “hospital diploma.”
Along with collecting evidence for the judicial system, forensic nurses also care for crime victims, provide health care services to those in the prison system, counsel children who have fired guns, assist in emergency rooms and examine sexual assault victims.
Forensic nurses usually start out as RNs who train to become sexual assault nurse examiners. From that point, they may get more involved with cases involving domestic violence, neglect, trauma and abuse. Other duties of the forensic nurse include:
According to the Department of Labor, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow “much faster than average for all occupations” during the upcoming decade. Due to the large number of nursing jobs that will be created, registered nurses are predicted to create the second largest number of new jobs among all occupations in the United States. Job opportunities for registered nurses in all specialties will be excellent, to the point that the industry is even now experiencing difficulty attracting and retaining an adequate number of RNs.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicate that the median annual salary of registered nurses in all specialties is approximately $57,280. The highest median wages were paid by employment services and hospitals.