Forensic Nursing Career Info
Job Description, Salary & Degrees Needed

Interested in a forensic nursing career? Read our forensic nurse job description, learn an average forensic nursing salary & find schools offering nurse degrees

Despite what TV has led you to believe, not all CSI personnel work risky murder cases.

A forensic nursing career, for example, is a professional vocation that is much more about interpersonal relationships and legal activity than it is about chasing criminals down the streets of Sin City.

A forensic nurse is trained to recognize criminal evidence with regards to a patient's physical state, they provide counsel and findings to the legal system, and they treat victims of sexual crimes, among other duties.

Unlike other CSI jobs, which are growing at a very exciting rate, the forensic nursing career is still rather new and hasn't yet taken off. Many medical facilities around the country still do not employ forensic nurses, and the future of the profession is as yet uncertain.

But it is still a very realistic career option for anyone wanting to go down the medical investigation path and earn a living making a difference in the world of law and order.

Forensic Nursing Career
The Duties of Forensic Nurses

Like most other employees of the criminal investigation system, the job of the forensic nurse is expansive. Some of the focuses include:

Forensic Gerontology Nurse

These professionals work exclusively with the elderly, especially on cases of abuse, mistreatment, neglect, and exploitation. They may work in hospitals or in nursing homes, where caring for the elderly is a more immediate job.

Forensic Psychiatric Nurse

The psychiatric nurse is tasked with the care and treatment of offenders with mental, emotional, or physical issues that prevent them from being productive members of society.

Legal Nurse Consultant

Sometimes the justice system and medical world cross boundaries and someone is needed who can provide advice to either side. This job oftentimes falls into the hands of the legal nurse consultant.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

Caring for and treating those who have become victims of sexual assault or abuse, the forensic nurse in charge of this focus is someone whose interpersonal skills need to be far above average.

Forensic Nursing Salary

Because the forensic nursing career is rather new to the CSI world, the pay scale for the job varies wildly from region to region and organization to organization.

If the number of jobs increases over the next few years and the justice and medical systems both recognize the value and need for such professionals, the average salary may eventually even out.

For now, however, you can expect to make anywhere from $26 to $100 an hour.

What does this mean on an annual scale?

  • Low end salary translates to roughly $54,000 per year
  • High end salary translates to approximately $208,000 per year

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In other words, this is a career from which you can certainly make a decent living. And if you work hard enough--or are lucky enough--you can make much more than decent living.

Forensic Nursing School

In order to become a forensic nurse, you have to first become properly trained. To do so, you need to go back to school to earn a forensic nursing degree or certificate from an accredited college or university.

One of the easiest and most cost effective options to do so is to get your forensic nursing degree from an online college or university. These are cheaper, faster, and more stress-free learning environments than campus-based colleges.

When you begin your forensic nursing schools search, be sure to look for these specific programs:

  • Forensic Nursing
  • Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Criminal Justice

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