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Trending jobs | Forensic nurse

Author(s): Sara Jennings, DNP, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, AFN-BC

Simply put, forensic nursing is where the medical and the legal system intertwine. Forensic nurses care for patients who have been victims of a crime such as adult physical and sexual violence, child physical and sexual violence, interpersonal violence, strangulation, human trafficking, and elder abuse. Forensic nurses provide care to patients in inpatient, outpatient, and community settings. 

Characteristics needed. Having a strong background in assessment skills and critical thinking are key characteristics needed to be a successful forensic nurse

Rewards. Forensic nurses find that providing care on patients’ darkest days and knowing they’re trusted are the most rewarding aspects of the profession.

Challenges. This is an ever-changing environment in terms of research and practice. Forensic nurse must stay active and engaged in the community of professionals and also be well-versed in practice literature and evidence.

Education requirements. The path to becoming a forensic nurse looks different for each person. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner course is a great starting point. The training includes 40 hours of classroom education followed by a clinical component.

Professional associations. Forensic nursing is represented well by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. The organization’s benefits include a community of colleagues, training opportunities, and professional certification.

Bottom line. “Forensic nursing is by far one of the most rewarding, yet challenging professions you’ll ever experience. It also has one of the strongest support systems from colleagues.”

Sara Jennings is the education director for the International Association of Forensic Nurses.


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