Forensic nurse versus psychiatric nurse

  1. Hello all,

    I am an apsiring BSN student, looking into taking my prereq science courses soon. My academic background consists of a BA in psychology and an MS in criminal justice. I have discovered that i really want to help people more in a medical capacity in these fields. I really want to go on to get my MSN as PMHNP, but given my background in CJ, I have also considered forensic nursing. I volunteered as a child advocate for the family and juvenile court, and i really enjoyed it. There's so many victims in the CJS that need help. Could someone tell me which one of these is more in demand in the job market? Which career path is the most flexible? It's a tough decision for me to decide between forensics and psychiatrics, because i feel strongly about both subjects.
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    About AspiringRN-MSN

    Joined: Dec '16; Posts: 18; Likes: 5


  3. by   softrbreeze
    I think they are pretty interchangeable. Most people in a forensics facility have at least one psychiatric diagnosis as well as a history of criminal activity and/or substance abuse.
  4. by   AspiringRN-MSN
    Is it easier to break into the field as a psychiatric nurse or a forensic nurse? Given that I have degrees that apply to both backgrounds, I would think that would help give me a leg up when finding a job. (After I get my BSN of course). How does getting certified with SANE work for entry level jobs? Is it something you do as your working?
  5. by   nurse2033
    Except for SANE programs there is very little work in nursing forensics. Nationwide there are very few hospitals that do nursing forensic work outside of SANE. Also, SANE is not for a new nurse. This is my opinion, but you will be dealing with some very complex psychosocial issues, often confounded with drugs or alcohol, and you have to face the aftermath of sexual assault on virtually every case. I am about to join a SANE team and one of the nurses told me this is the toughest nursing job she's had, and she's had them all. On the other hand, psych nursing at least has a lot of jobs. I have no idea if psych programs will hire new grads, but I would recommend that direction first. That is a demanding area also. You might consider corrections, which always seems to have a lot of openings. Corrections has a bit of everything, but you have to be a certain type of person to succeed. Good luck.
  6. by   GeminiNurse29
    I currently work at a facility that deals with majority forensics patients. And they're all there because they are either being treated to competency or they have a mental health diagnosis (or multiple). IMO being a psych nurse gives you more job options and forensics is more specialized depending on where you are.
  7. by   SCSTxRN
    I am a PMHNP. I work in a forensic state hospital. The people I work with are not categorized as victims in the crimes that brought them here, but they have frequently been victims prior to becoming perpetrators.
  8. by   AspiringRN-MSN
    Thank you all for your replies. This info has been useful