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Everything You Need to Know About Having a Forensic Nursing Degree

Forensic Nursing

Are you a nurse? Can you not get enough of crime dramas? Do you fancy yourself being in a team that works to obtain justice for a victim? If yes is the answer to these questions, then forensic nursing may be for you. 

As a nurse with a criminal justice interest, you can have a fulfilling career as a forensic nurse. Visit to learn more about criminal justice. 

Forensic nursing involves taking care of crime victims and helping to get justice for them. While you may be passionate about it, jumping headlong into it without getting enough knowledge isn’t a great idea. 

Therefore, in this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about being a forensic nurse.

Forensic Nursing – What exactly is it?

Forensic nursing refers to an arm of nursing that focuses on taking care of victims of violence, trauma, and abuse. As a nurse in this field, you would need knowledge in both nursing and criminal justice. 

Nurses in this field are typically at the forefront when crimes victims need help. So, providing sensitive care is part of a forensic nurse’s skillsets. They also need to be able to meticulously collect important evidence that can be used in court while providing care. 

If you wish to go into this field, then you should be interested in not just providing direct care for patients, but also acting as your patients’ advocate. As we have said already, you also need to be interested in law and criminal justice. 

Also, you have to be capable of paying serious attention to even the tiniest detail. You would be exposed to some disturbing cases and this may get you emotionally drained. So, if you are to get into this field, you must ensure your work and life balance is stable and you have a strong support system. 

Educational Requirements

Forensic nurses often need to have completed a nursing program. You can either get an ADN or BSN to work in this field. After earning either of the two mentioned, you would need to take and pass your NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed registered nurse. 

MSNs are usually not required for forensic nurse roles; however, having one would make you more hirable. Furthermore, you would need a graduate forensic nursing degree to get some certifications in this field. 

To break things down, to become a forensic nurse, you would need to go through the following steps: 

  • Get either an ADN or BSN 
  • Get your license to practice by taking and passing your NCLEX-RN exam
  • Gather relevant experience. 
  • Consider getting a forensic nursing graduate degree

Forensic Nurse

Credentials or Certifications

It is strongly recommended that you obtain certification in the field if you are to get an edge over your peers. Certifications aren’t usually required; however, they show that you are committed to the career. 

You would also have more standards when it comes to caring for patients within this field. Registered nurses can apply for and complete a specialist program in forensic nursing. 

Where Can You Work?

You can get a role in several patient care environments if you choose this career path. In hospitals, you can work in these departments:

  • Urgent care where both unintentional and intentional trauma, assault/abuse, and injury cases are treated. 
  • Emergency rooms. 

In community settings, you can work with:

  • Local government organizations
  • Pathologists 
  • Medical examiners
  • Coroners
  • Non-profit or Non-governmental organizations that deal with abuse and trauma survivors

Duties and Roles

It does not matter where you are employed. Whether in a community setting or a hospital, the roles you would play in this field are the same everywhere. Some of these roles are: 

  • Doing thorough documentation and collection of data
  • Provide the victims as well as their families the necessary comfort and care
  • Serve as a link between assault victims and their loved ones
  • Testify in a law court
  • Serve as a link  between social services and law enforcement

Employment and Salary

PayScale estimates that nurses in this field can earn between 46,509 dollars and 90,960 dollars per year. The salary typically would be based on certain factors including location (city or state), organization, and credentials. You can click here to learn more about this. 

This field is also quite new. So, although it has created several career opportunities, there aren’t enough personnel to fill the gap. Therefore, when it comes to employment, this field is very favorable. 


Becoming a forensic nurse can be quite the job because of how emotionally draining it can be. However, if you have set your mind to take this career path, then it is only logical to know all you can about it before you get into it. This is why in this article; we have discussed several things including what the job is all about, the duties and roles you would have to play, the educational requirements, among other things. 

More on this topic: 

What You Need for a Successful Career in Forensic Psychology

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