Forensic Nurses as Medical Examiners

  1. 0
    I was wondering what the requirements for and the possibilities are for a Forensic Nurse to become a Medical Examiner or Coroner? It is my understanding that this career is usually held by doctors.
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  3. 13 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I thought medical examiners have to have a medical degree, I might be wrong though.
  5. 1
    ME=Medical Examiner (Physician)

    Coroners can be lay people or Physicians and are normally elected or appointed in their district. Some requirements may be a BS degree, others no degree at all. Some requirements may be law enforcement experience, others, no.

    Each County/City/State have their own requirements for becoming a Coroner. You will need to find out what your area states.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 2
    Chris,
    Each state has its own system, there are two, as stated above: Elected coroner (lay person over 18, unless MD is running, they take precedence over the lay person) and Medical Examiner system (has to be MD). In some very small parishes, the coroner is the owner of the ambulance service or the funeral home. There are RNs who are coroners, and I would strongly encourage you to seek more information from the International Association of Forensic Nurses. You should be able to find all the information you need, but I would also check with your state. You might try your local coroner or Medical Examiner's office. another resource is NAME, National Association of Medical Examiners. Death Investigation is a fascinating career!
    PS. Hey sirI!
    ~Karen
    lindarn and sirI like this.
  7. 0
    Hi, Karen!! (thanks for the info )
  8. 0
    In my state, coroners are an elected position. They require absolutely no training or diplomas even though they can declare people dead. They process paperwork for death certificates, can investigate death scenes, can seize bodies and have them sent to the state crime lab for autoposy along with other evidence of death and health, and hold a coroner's inquest which is basically a court hearing concerning the nature of a person's death (natural, suicide, accident, felonious, etc). The one from my home county attended the course in St. Louis, and he talked highly of it. However, there aren't many from the 75 counties of my state that have been to it. Even he has a couple of part-time deputy coroners to take call when he's off, but they haven't been through the training.

    In many of the counties (three out of four) I've operated out of (via law enforcement career) the coroners were funeral directors that ran for office and got elected. The one from my home county actually retired from the highway department before wanting the job.

    A couple of other interesting tidbits exist about them here including the fact that an arrest warrant can actually be addressed to coroners as well as police officers, marshals, constables, and sheriffs, lol. At one time, the state constitution gave only elected coroners the authority to arrest elected county sheriffs.

    Also, in some states, the county sheriff is automatically the coroner as in others the sheriff also holds the title of tax collector. Here, that's not the case.

    A medical examiner is a physician.
  9. 0
    Oneida County, NY, is in the process of switching from an elected coroner system to a medical examiner system. Here's the link to the story:

    Oneida County moving forward with medical examiner system

    hopefully there will a position open when I finish school and additional training...
  10. 0
    The link I posted above, if you don't want to read it, says they are looking for nurses, EMTs, and NPs as medical examiners...
  11. 0
    Quote from Nolee_of_Araya
    Oneida County, NY, is in the process of switching from an elected coroner system to a medical examiner system. Here's the link to the story:

    Oneida County moving forward with medical examiner system

    hopefully there will a position open when I finish school and additional training...

    ...says they are looking for nurses, EMTs, and NPs as medical examiners...

    Hello and welcome to allnurses.com.

    Thank you for the link. Bear in mind this is the "system" that is being revamped.

    The position that is listed in this link is "assistant forensic investigator"; can be EMT or nurse/NP and will be working for the Onondaga County Medical Examiner. The position is not as Medical Examiner. Medical Examiners are Physicians.
  12. 0
    Ahhhh... my bad... Thanks for correcting me!

    I read the story on another site originally and had to Google it to go back and find it- this was not the one I read but I figured it was the same info. I think I may have linked to the other story from a Topix post- big mistake. That'll teach me to trust everything I read online lol...

    Regardless, the "assistant forensic investigator" position sounds interesting...


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