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The job of the forensic nurse has many points to it. First and foremost, this is a type of nurse who determines various crimes that have been committed against a person. These crimes can be anything from assault to rape and everything in between. In order to become a forensic nurse, the qualifications will vary depending on your states specific requirements. Some states only require a Bachelors degree in nursing which makes you a qualified Registered Nurse or an RN while other states require a specialized certification in forensics, be sure to check with your own states requirements before entering into a program to ensure it is one that the state will recognize.
Forensic nurses work with patients as they come into the healthcare system, whether it is in an emergency room or an urgent care clinic, who have been victim to rape or assault, or any other crime against their person, to retrieve various samples such as a rape kit or retrieving skin or hair follicles from a victim that could be linked to the attacker. Once the evidence has been collected from the victim, the nurse will then pass the evidence onto the authorities who will test it to determine if it is in fact linked to the attacker and bring that person to justice. Once the tests have been ran and a suspect is identified, the nurse may also be called into any court proceedings as an expert witness to tell the court how the evidence was collected, how the victim was and what statements were made. It is because of this aspect that it is imperative that the forensic nurse knows all aspects of forensics thoroughly so that they represent the prosecution effectively in court. A few states also use nurses as coroners and death investigators, although generally more training and certification will be required to become qualified for this type of job.
The most widely accepted qualification for a nurse is that of the Bachelors degree in nursing, or a BSN. With this four-year degree, you are a registered nurse although if you wish to pursue a career in forensics, it is recommended that you also take any offered courses in forensics and criminal justice for your elective courses to give you more knowledge in collecting evidence and criminal justice procedures. When earning your BSN degree, you may choose one of the best online colleges who offer distance learning for their nursing school students; while all of the coursework can be done totally online, you will be required to do any required clinical training at one of your local hospitals or healthcare facilities. In addition to the required degree, some states also require that you take various certification courses in forensic nursing, such as courses and testing that pertain to evidence collection as well as becoming an expert witness.
These courses are generally about 40 hours and will prepare you for the certification exams which will increase not just your potential for promotions and more job opportunities, but your overall potential for salary raises as well. Forensic nursing is quickly becoming one of the top careers available which you can be fully qualified for in four years or less. Enroll in forensic nurse courses today!