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- by nursern07 Aug 23, '08I have been considering this specialty for some time, but the seemingly lack of job opportunities is holding me back. I do not want to be a SANE. I have so much respect and admiration for those of you who are, but I couldn't do it. I do not think I have the ability to be there for my patients, not emotionally anyways. I am interested in the evidence collection, possible coroner, crime scene aspect.
I have read a lot of posts here and online at other places about SANEs, but are there any non-SANE forensic nurses here? I was looking into a few programs, but a lot of them seem to be heavily SANE based. Anyone have any recommendations for programs?
Anyone here taken the courses through Fitchburg State?
Anyone have their Masters in Forensics? Where did you go to school?
I hear a lot about internships/externships with their local crime lab/ME/coroner... how in the world did you find thos opportunities!? lol I have looked online and haven't found a thing! I don't have any connections, so any tips would be great. I'm willing to relocate as well. Just trying to get some info about this, thanks so much!!!
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- Aug 23, '08 by dsczephyrHi nursern07
Have you checked out other forensic nursing websites? This forum has a lot of great information, but there are also other websites specific to forensic nursing. There is the International Association of Forensic Nurses at: http://www.forensicnurse.org On that site you will find a list of schools that have certificate and graduate forensic programs (although,Quinnipiac University, still on that list, recently put their program on hold). You can also check out whether or not your state has a local chapter of forensic nurses to join. That way you can also find out what other forensic nurses are doing in your state.
There is also American Forensic Nurses website at: http://www.amrn.com/faq.html which also offers forensic nursing education in various areas and is another resource. And also The Forensic Nurse at: http://www.theforensicnurse.com
In light of your interests, you may also want to check out the American College of Forensic Examiners International at: www.acfei.com
There are many others out there. And obviously, this forum contains a lot of good information.
On a personal note, I would say this: You don't need a master's degree to be a forensic nurse. Although I have my MSN as a Forensic Nurse Clinical Specialist, and I also have my BS in Criminal Justice - Investigative Services, I read many posts and am on listserves where the forensic nurses simply did a certificate. I work as an ER nurse who uses what I know in that setting (and yes, that includes, but is not limited to, being a SANE), but I do not go to crime scenes or work as a death investigator. BUT - in my MSN program, I did get to do a lot of hours of internship in various settings ranging from law offices to state agencies to medical examiner to riding with police (a total of 600 hours over three clinical semesters). I got to do these because the university had contracts with those agencies. These internships are sometimes more difficult to get with some of the certificate programs out there due to insurance and liability-type stuff. And then there are some certificate programs that have a limited clinical component to them. So it depends on what's important to you. I would suggest taking your time in shopping around to see what forensic program is a best fit for you. And then - yes, you may very well need to relocate to really get the position you want. Some states are astute and understand the need for forensic nurses, other states, not so astute.
One more thing: I got into nursing five years ago solely to be a forensic nurse. I have learned that experience really counts in this field; your experience as a nurse, along with your education, is what really gives you your credibility as a forensic nurse.
Good luck - and please, share your experiences. I am sure they will be valuable.
- Aug 24, '08 by nursern07Thank for the info. I have looked at some of those websites before, but I'll really take my time and really look into them. I didnt even think of checking into whether or not my state had a chapter, can I find this on one of the websites you gave me? Also, where did you go to school? You seemed to have had a great experience and without you having a nursing background it makies me feel better because I always here that I should have an ED background before going back to school. Thanks again!
- Aug 24, '08 by dsczephyrYou're very welcome! I graduated from Quinnipiac University, the one that just put their program on hold. But I believe Fitchburg State, in a neighboring state, has a good program. The International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) have chapters in various states (though not every state has a chapter). If you go to the IAFN web site, under "Networking" there is a "Chapter" link. Click on that and it will give you a list of the various chapters. Be aware that to be a member of a chapter you must pay the fee to join IAFN, and then you can join the chapter.
As to background, there is no rule that you need to be an ED nurse. Some of the forensic nurses I know work in VA hospitals, long-term care, labor and delivery, ICU; they also work in agencies such as Dept of Children and Families, Department of Developmental Disabilities, and in domestic violence centers; they work in psychiatric forensic settings and prisons, and so many other areas. But the ED gives you exposure to many patients with forensic issues, you learn so much in that arena, so I tend to be partial to it myself. But everyone is different and has their own areas of interest. I have listed some of the ones I know to show that forensic nursing is not bounded by ED or SANE, it's much more universal.
Hope this has been of some use...best of luck to you.