I can well understand your frustration. It's how I felt the whole time I was in nursing school, which I went into knowing I wanted to be a forensic nurse. Since becoming an RN I have worked with some awesome LPNs. And it is often hard to tell the difference between an LPN and an RN. But differences do exist. One of the major differences is that of assessment. From a scope of practice point of view, an LPN does not perform assessments, an RN does. Assessment is part of what a SANE does, and being an RN is a requirement to be a certified SANE.
As far as certification goes, I have the impression that there is a lot of confusion out there. The only one offered at this time by IAFN is the SANE certification. I know there is on-going work to develop certifications in other areas. The American College of Forensic Examiners offers a Forensic Nursing certification which requires the following:
"Hold a current, full, and unrestricted license as a registered nurse (RN) in the United States or its territories; Have practiced for a minimum of 5 years as a registered nurse in the United States; Have successfully completed a formal didactic educational program in forensic nursing. This may include a 3-hour undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate course (or equivalent hour-based education course), including a minimum of 40 contact hours in the core areas of forensic nursing. Core areas to have been covered in this educational program include the history of forensic nursing; the forensic nursing process; violence and victimology; injury identification, interpretation, and documentation; criminalistics and forensic science; and nursing and the law/legal interface; Be an ACFEI member in good standing; Have supervised and documented clinical experience in any area of forensic nursing practice; Validate his or her current forensic nurse competency by providing supporting documentation (a clinical experience validation form) signed by an appropriate clinical authority, such as a forensic mentor, employer, or nursing supervisor; and Provide two professional references." That is a direct quote from their website.
What I would suggest to you while waiting to complete your RN:
Take some Criminal Justice courses at a local community college. It's where I started. I just finished a BS (after seven years of taking courses part-time) in Criminal Justice with a focus in Investigative Services. Look into volunteering at your local domestic violence and/or sexual assault crisis center. I started a bit over two years ago, now I work one day a week in criminal court as a Family Violence Victim Advocate. I work with State Attorneys, Judges, and within the legal system. Attend all the forensic nursing conferences you are able to attend. I started attending five years ago and this past year had the privilege of being invited to be one of the IAFN International Scientific Assembly's planners. Do you have a state IAFN chapter. Most states have one. If your state has one, get involved. You can, as a student, be a part of things. You just can't vote or hold office. I am a current member of my state chapter's Board of Directors. I attended meetings as a freshman nursing student.
In short, there are things you can do. One thing about being a forensic nurse: it is what you make of it. To a certain degree, you have to invent your own opportunities and create your own experiences. I just finished the SANE course. But I have to set up my own appts with the local college's security office, with the detectives who investigate the sex crimes, with the local prosecutor, and I also have to set up my own pelvic exams in order to become a certified SANE. I don't have to go for certification. I have completed the course and that's worth 45 CEUs where I live. But I want to get my certification.
I'm sorry this is so long. I hope this helps you to identify some possibilities. Just be patient, and be persistent. Good Luck. dsczephyr
Quote from dysmnesia1
I'm an LPN w/IV of 6 years. I have been working on my RN part-time for quite awhile. I am currently on a waiting list to complete the 'clinical portion' to get my RN (FYI, i should start in summer 2007). and i just don't want to sit around and wait on that day to get here, i'm always starved for input. my question is...an lpn can complete the forensic nursing and the SANE programs at UC Riverside Extension Online as they take LPN's. but in order to become "Certified" by IAFN I must be an RN. if that's the case, how is this going to benefit me at this time? if I complete the FN cert. and/or the SANE cert. prior to receiving my RN can I work as a FNE or a SANE without the IAFN recognized cert? nothing personal to all you RN's out there but as an LPN, I feel like a second class citizen.:angryfire As far as I can tell, there are 3 differences between an LPN w/IV and an RN: care plans, pushing meds and the paycheck. You go RN'S!! I'm getting mine!:mortarboard: