If you’re looking for a unique nursing career that combines criminal justice and the world of medicine, you may want to consider working as a forensic nurse.
Forensic nurses have a variety of job responsibility that change depending on the specific case needs. In this role, you’ll serve as a liaison between medical facilities and investigators, working with patients to ensure that there injuries are documented. Your tasks could include administering rape kits to check for signs of rape, taking blood and urine samples, and taking pictures of bruises or other injuries. Because you’ll deal with patients who have been through a difficult crime, you could also monitor a patient on suicide watch or evaluate a patient’s mental health status. Some forensic nurses also work with coroners.
Salary and Career Options
The amount of money you’ll make as a forensic nurse depends on your level of education, location, and experience in the field, though most make over $60,000 annually. Once you’ve begun working in the forensics field, you also have the option of gaining the experience needed to become an expert witness. In this role, you’ll serve as a witness in court, telling the judge or jury your conclusions based on a patient or corpse’s medical condition.
Most forensic nursing positions require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as specialized on-the-job training or classes so that you’re prepared to work in this field. Specialized education is important to you don’t accidentally destroy evidence or complicate a case for investigators. While not mandatory, you can seek certification in a number of forensic nursing areas, such as sexual assault examination, which allows you to make more money and qualify for better jobs.
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