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Forensic Nursing (FN): Programs

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Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

What are Some Forensic Nursing Programs?

Forensic Nurses deal with individuals who are victims of violent crimes such as sexual assault, battery, domestic violence, and child abuse. They help to bridge nursing and the law and are recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA). The following Article provides an overview of several Forensic Nursing programs. It further addresses which entities should accredit and/or establish standards for their programs.

Forensic Nursing (FN): Programs

This article is to advise those interested in receiving formal education as a Forensic Nurse.

There are educational programs that prepare the Registered Nurse (RN) as a forensic specialist. There are programs for the Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) as well as post-master's for other Advanced Practice Nurses (APN). And, there are programs for the Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) and paramedic. The APN and eligible RN can sit for Forensic nursing certification examinations.

While most educative programs vary regarding eligibility, most will require the RN to receive an accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) education, successfully pass the NCLEX-RN, and possess a current, unencumbered RN license in the U.S. state of practice.

When considering a Forensic Nursing program one should note if they adhere to standards set forth by the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Note if they are approved/accredited by the individual Boards of Nursing (BON) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Also, Forensic Nursing post-graduate programs should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The following are a few Forensic nursing educational programs and Forensic nursing certification examination entities (not all-inclusive).

University of California, Riverside

1 - The Professional Certificate in Forensic Nursing is an online certificate program for the LPN/LVN, RN, SANE-certified Nurse, and Nurse Practitioner (NP).

Program Topics (not all-inclusive)

  • collection/preservation of evidence
  • sexual assault examinations
  • social/political implications
  • chain-of-custody
  • documentation
  • photography
  • court testimony preparation

2 - Those interested in death investigation will be interested in the Professional Certificate in Nurse Death Investigation. It is an online certificate program for the LPN/LVN and RN.

Program Contents (not all-inclusive)

  • roles/responsibilities nurse death investigator
  • collecting evidence
  • preserving evidence
  • confirming decedent's identity

Fitchburg State University

The Nursing (Forensic Nursing) Graduate Certificate is a forensic certificate program offered 100% online*.  This program is offered to the Master's-prepared Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) who has graduated from an accredited APN program and possesses a current, unencumbered APN license in his/her U.S. state of practice. (see website for complete eligibility information).

Program Contents (not all-inclusive)

  • criminal law
  • forensic science
  • care of perpetrators
  • practicum
  • scientific investigation
  • legal proceedings

*Note: Some courses have a clinical component.

SANE-SART Resource Service (SSRS)

The courses are offered online and interactive on-site for the RN and APN. Simulations are complemented by (hosted) webinars.

RNs and APNs are eligible to take the following Adult/Adolescent SANE / SAFE / SAMFE courses.

  • Adult/Adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
  • Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE)
  • Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiner (SAMFE)
  • Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

Program Contents (not all-inclusive)

  • perform sexual assault medical-forensic exams
  • investigate sexual assault cases
  • act as an expert witness in a sexual assault trial
  • identify, collect and preserve evidence

Duquesne University Forensic Nursing Certificate for Advanced Practice

The Online MSN in Forensic Nursing is 100% online.

Program Topics (not all-inclusive)

  • broad-based forensic curriculum
  • preparation for an advanced practice forensic role
  • ethics
  • criminal law
  • preserve chain-of-evidence
  • health care policy
  • prepare for SANE certification

This certificate provides a prep course that includes the 40-hour training necessary to sit for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification exam.

Monmouth University

1 - Master of Science in Nursing: Forensic Nursing

This is a 100% online course. (view admission requirements)

Program Topics (not all-inclusive)

  • child/elder abuse
  • death investigation
  • sexual assault examination
  • domestic violence

2 - Forensic Nursing Graduate Certificate

Eligibility (not all-inclusive)

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Current New Jersey RN license
  • One year RN experience
  • Proof of a current $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 liability and malpractice policy

St. Louis University

The Medicolegal Death Investigators Training is a yearly, four- or five-day course for Nurses as well as other healthcare/legal/law personnel. 

Key Components (not all-inclusive)

  • document decedent profile
  • scene walk-through
  • photography
  • chain-of-custody
  • witness interview
  • body examination

Pennsylvania State University

The Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing Forensics is a 12-credit program of study, which may be earned as part of the RN to BSN program or as a stand-alone certificate for the RN who holds a current, unencumbered RN license in their U.S. state of practice.

Program Topics (not all-inclusive)

  • evidence collection
  • preservation of evidence
  • documentation
  • domestic violence
  • assault
  • stalking
  • legal issues
  • ethical issues

Texas A&M University

The Master of Science in Nursing-Forensic Nursing track is a 36-semester credit hour curriculum for the BSN-educated and licensed RN. The program is approved for delivery via asynchronous distance education technology with some required visits to Bryan, TX.

Program Courses (not all-inclusive)

  • Forensic Sexual Assault Examiner Course
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Human Trafficking
  • Forensic Photography

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)(Forensic Nursing Certification)

The Advanced Forensic Nursing Certification (AFN-BC) certification and credentials are available for renewal only. (see re-certification renewal requirements)

International Association of Forensic Nurses (Forensic Nursing Certification)

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric/Adolescent (SANE-A® or SANE-P®) certification examinations are offered twice a year in April and September.  Registered Nurses (RN) are eligible. These certifications are recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

SANE-A®Eligibility (not all-inclusive)

  • Graduate from accredited Registered Nursing (RN) program
  • Successfully pass the NCLEX-RN
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in U.S. state of practice
  • Minimum 2 years RN experience
  • Completed accredited adult/adolescent sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 40 hours CE contact hours OR
  • Completed accredited adult/adolescent sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 40 hours of academic coursework OR
  • Completed combined, accredited adult/adolescent/pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 64 hours of CE/contacts hours OR
  • Completed accredited adult/adolescent/pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 64 hours academic coursework AND
  • Completed sexual assault nurse examiner clinical preceptorship AND
  • Practiced as a sexual assault nurse examiner; minimum 300 hours within past 3 years

SANE-P® Eligibility (not all-inclusive)

  • Graduate from accredited Registered Nursing (RN) program
  • Successfully pass the NCLEX-RN
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in U.S. state of practice
  • Minimum 3 years RN experience
  • Completed accredited pediatric/adolescent sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 40 hours CE/contact hours OR
  • Completed accredited pediatric/adolescent sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 40 hours academic coursework OR
  • Completed combined adult/adolescent/pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 64 hours CE/contacts hours OR
  • Completed combined adult/adolescent/pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner program; minimum 64 hours academic coursework AND
  • Completed sexual assault nurse examiner clinical preceptorship AND
  • Practiced as sexual assault nurse examiner; minimum 300 hours within past 3 years

sirI is an OB-GYN NP-BC, (Emeritus), FNP-BC, and Legal Nurse Consultant. Specialty areas include OB-GYN, trauma, med-legal consulting, forensics, and education. She conducts seminars for Nursing Students, Nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers regarding how to avoid litigation, assisting with depositions, and conducting "Mock Trials" where the students are the players in the court proceedings. sirI is a Senior Administrator for allnurses.

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187 Comment(s)

What exactly do forensic nurses do? I am a nursing student interested in this field. Thanks.:bow:

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

What exactly do forensic nurses do? I am a nursing student interested in this field. Thanks.:bow:

Hello, NURSECHICK14,

The role of the Forensic Nurse has many responsibilities. Here are but a few:

Visit the scene

Identify forensic evidence

Document injuries through forensic photography

Evaluate/investigate suspicious and/or unidentified trauma

Evaluate/investigate automobile and/or pedestrian accidents

Evaluate/investigate fatal and non-fatal assaults

The SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) is the most common part of forensic nursing. The nurse cares for the victim of a sexual assault, documents for possible criminal cases, collect forensic evidence, testify at trial.

Here is a partial list of the focus of the study:

Perpetrator theory

Victimology

Criminology

Preservation of evidence

DNA lab interpretation

Forensic law

Elder Abuse

Child Abuse

"Living Forensics"

A very intriguing career, forensic nurses must study and understand legal issues as well. Many legal nurse consultants cross-train as forensic nurses, too.

So, I gather you are interested?

This sounds interesting, I might see if any schools around here give courses in this.

nawlpn

Specializes in Nursing Home. Has 8 years experience.

I have been a LPN for 8 years and I'm now in RN nursing school. I want to study forensic nursing also. This is a field that interest me.

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Hello, ohioln and nawlpn.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post here or send me a private message. I will l be glad to assist you.

My log on is kenkoeken I am a nurse of 5 years of experience and was wondering if anyone has taken the medical examiner investigator program through St. Louis University? I am thinking about taking it this Oct and was wondering if it is worth my time

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

hello, kenkoeken and welcome to allnurses.com and the Forensic Nursing forum.

Good luck with your future plans and enjoy the site.

Very useful information. Hopefully, I will be able to utilize it one day :idea:

I have been a LPN for 8 years and I'm now in RN nursing school. I want to study forensic nursing also. This is a field that interest me.

Me too I love the forensic sciences. i am currently working om my RN as well. I am hoping to get my RN and then hopefully take online courses. What is the job market like for this field?

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Hello, marniecmLPN,

The world of forensic nursing is still in its infancy. Wide open opportunities everywhere. I think you can find something in just about any city and it doesn't have to be a major city either.

I wish you luck in your RN program and your future as a Forensic Nurse.

HI just wondering about forensic nursing jobs. I'm very interested in this, probably more in a role of reviewing the evidence, and cases. Not so much visiting the scene of the crime, where there a dead bodies. I have been looking online for forensic nursing jobs, and haven't seen any in MAssachusetts. I really want to pursue this, but If there are not many jobs out there, then...... I dodn't think I will. I've been a nurse for a year of a pedi surgical floor, and will be working in the OR for the next couple years, but I would like to start some classes soon.

Any info is helpful. Not sure if I'm just not searching in the right palces.

Thanks

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Hello, ladybug06. I answered your post in the MA thread.

This is a re-post of a message I left in another section but it still applies:

I have been a forensic nurse examiner for 16 years and am a Board Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner since they gave the first exam in 2002. I have worked in 3 SANE programs and built another one from the ground up until I started my own sexual assault business in 2003. Many nurses are drawn to the specialty until their pager goes off at 0300 in the morning. It is a very demanding and fulfilling specialty but don't go into it if your idea is to 'help' victims or 'get the bad guy.' It is all about being objective and meticulously collecting evidence. Patient assessment is foremost and it takes a full time knowledge base for what is usually a part time job. Don't give up your regular job if you have to support yourself. We appear in court and must have excellent writing and verbal skills. You must have the stamina and endurance to do several exams in a row, which happens from time to time. Each exam takes between 2 and 3 hours for the patient and 3 to 5 hours for the nurse examiner.

I teach a sexual assault examiner course out of the University of California, Riverside, Extension. A few of my students are doing their internship with me.

A 'rape kit' is the equipment an assailant might bring to the scene to commit his crime. (although this type of assailant is rare) I use a sexual assault evidence collection kit (SAE kit). Most reported assaults are by people who know each other, use poor judgment while drinking, elevate their risk factor, etc. The real stranger assault is rare.

We work very independently so a good background and foundation in nursing; women's health, emergency department are very desirable.

If you are not influenced by the TV shows and you like hard work, are flexible and enjoy unpredictability, give it a try.

Cari

This is the field I am most interested in also. Unfortunately I have a long way to go...good luck to all of you!

Are there programs for this online or do you have to actually attend a school in person. Forensics has always interested me but never thought about going to school for it. Any information you might have would be appreciated.

Kaplan University has an online program to get your certification. I'm sure there are plenty more.

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Actually, Kaplan's program will issue you a certificate, not a certification.