Published Oct 1, 2003
which field would I go into if I wanted to examine and study dead bodies for the causes of death?
You would probably want to study patholgy and get an advanced degree in that. Most medical examiners are Doc's...unless they are elected officials (which is becoming more and more rare). I hope this helped...
NICU_Nurse, BSN, RN
Just a plug for forensic nursing (my local forensic nurse expert would kill me if I didn't include it here!):
and a slightly different site:
In order to become what is called a "Forensic Pathologist", you actually have to go to medical school. An FP is a doctor who has specialized in anatomy and forensic medical examination. This takes approximately 12-14 years, like most medical degrees. (4 years of undergrad/pre-med, 4 years of medical school, 4-6 years of your residency, internship, and fellowships)
If that's not for you, consider becoming a pathology assistant (self-explanatory, I think!). There is also a field dedicated to forensic science, but these people do things like examine weapons and scenes to determine how something occurred (ie, this person was shot from close-range with this type of gun because of the pattern of the blood splatter on the linoleum, etc.).
Then, of course, there is forensic nursing, which is a relatively new field with lots of variety but much less focus on actual autopsies and probably more on gathering evidence (ie, with SANE nurses in the ER), counseling, and/or working in an assistive capacity to the medical examiner. You can become a SANE nurse easily, but to be considered an actual "Forensic Nurse" you need your Master's degree in this area (so, if you're looking at school time, think in the way of 4-5 years for your BSN, another 2-3 for your Master's, then whatever post-Master's certifications -if any- are required).
As an aside, you'll probably like this book:
STIFF, by Mary Roach
It's an excellent read. Here's a link to Amazon:
And, as an alternative (and another WONDERFUL read), a book on Forensic Anthropology:
Hope this helps! Get these books! They're both wonderful, extremely entertaining, and full of interesting information to satisfy your morbid and somehow socially inappropriate obsessions. I know it worked for *me*.
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