Published Aug 16, 2021
I’m a current nursing student (half way done!) in California and have become more and more interested in the Forensic nursing field, and more specifically interested in someday working as a SANE.
What would be the best department to start out in as a new grad that would help me prepare best for going down this route? I.e. ER, Psych, L&D, Med/Surg, etc?
What did your journey to becoming a Forensic/SANE nurse look like? Thank you!
FNErnconnie, ADN, BSN, RN
Hello! So happy to hear that you're interested in Forensic nursing, we need more nurses, just like every other specialty I'm sure :)
I'm also from CA, originally, but I'm now in CO. I started my forensic nursing pathway in CA though. Although I have found that there isn't a particular area that is required per say, it seems that most nurses I have encountered in the forensic nursing field tend to be from the ED, L&D, or Peds. That's not to say that nurses from any other field can't get into forensic nursing just that most applicants I come across tend to be from these areas.
I personally got into forensic nursing via a different pathway, not directly connected to the dept where I was currently working. It was an area of nursing that I was interested in so I completed my final BSN portion/project (I forget what it's called, it's been years) with the director of the FSU at my local hospital. After spending a semester with her she offered me a position, the hospital paid for my required education portion and she provided al of the hands on training. This was in CA. In CO, the education is offered for free via a grant, so anyone that wants to get into this field of nursing can get the education for free, which is HUGE because all states are different. In most states you have to pay for it yourself unless sponsored by an employer and it can be a deterrent from nurses getting into the field. So in CO, once you completed the education portion of the training (theory part), you can apply to a position with a hospital that is hiring. Some hospitals are willing to hire nurses with no experience and train them themselves and others wants nurses with experience, similar to all other nursing jobs, some places will take new grads and others won't. I hire new forensic nurses to the field and I train them myself for our program, along with other nurses that are part of my team that are preceptors and can train. But that's just my program, all programs are different. Your first step would be to get the education part if it's truly something that you're interested in. I don't know what part of CA you're in, but I can tell you that there are many, many forensic programs in CA in comparison to other states. I was blessed to have learned in such a great full services forensic program that is super busy with forensic cases. I didn't know that this was not the norm in other states until I moved away. Most states have SANE programs only and not full service programs or if they do, very few, maybe just a handful. Take advantage of the fact that you're in a state that has many. I would reach out to one near you, express your interest, and see how you can become a help to them. Start building connections now and network.
Hope this was helpful! Have a great day :)
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