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Who is a forensic nurse

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Hello,

I am curious about the field. C little confused about how to get there. Do I need experience to get the MSN or cert?

What kind of jobs are there exactly? Someone told me if I like crime scene shows, it's like that. But this person is an ER nurse and I want a Forensics nurse to give me some info as someone who is going through it.

I love that nursing has so many options, but I just want to figure it out already. LOL.

Thank you!

SarahMaria, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Forensics, Addictions. Has 9 years experience.

My official title is Forensic Staff Nurse. I have been working in forensic psychiatry for 7 years. There are different areas of forensic nursing such as psychiatry and SANEs.

In forensic psychiatry, I work with patients in a state facility who have committed serious offenses and they are mentally ill. Many times these patients have pleaded Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity and are committed to the hospital for many years.

Any questions feel free to ask.

On 6/21/2020 at 11:35 PM, SarahMaria said:

My official title is Forensic Staff Nurse. I have been working in forensic psychiatry for 7 years. There are different areas of forensic nursing such as psychiatry and SANEs.

In forensic psychiatry, I work with patients in a state facility who have committed serious offenses and they are mentally ill. Many times these patients have pleaded Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity and are committed to the hospital for many years.

Any questions feel free to ask.

WOW!. That sounds intense, but super interesting.

what is a typical day like for your field? What type of work do you do for these patients?

I looked up SANEs and it looked like abuse cases one for adults and one specializing in children.

what other types of forensic nursing is there? Does your title open you to all scopes of forensics or limit you to just psychiatric?

thanks for responding 🙂

hopefulRN'17, ASN, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience.

On 6/22/2020 at 2:35 AM, SarahMaria said:

My official title is Forensic Staff Nurse. I have been working in forensic psychiatry for 7 years. There are different areas of forensic nursing such as psychiatry and SANEs.

In forensic psychiatry, I work with patients in a state facility who have committed serious offenses and they are mentally ill. Many times these patients have pleaded Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity and are committed to the hospital for many years.

Any questions feel free to ask.

This sounds extremely interesting

I worked as a forensic nurse examiner. They trained me on the job and sent me to SANE training. I worked with adult and child sexual assaults, domestic violence, suspected child/elder abuse/neglect, physical assaults and animal bites. I wouldn’t say it is anything like Forensic Files or any of those shows because you are doing patient care. It involves tons of photography for all cases. For sexual assaults: bagging up clothes for evidence, taking and packaging swabs and doing a pelvic exam (adults) for cervical photos and vaginal/cervical swabs and also drawing blood/collecting urine. You also give Antibiotic IM shots, morning after pill and occasionally HIV meds. But the focus is always on paTient care. You also have to interview the patients and ask them a series of questions and fill out legal forms and write up a narrative report. I only have my ADN but I was a volunteer for Rape Crisis Center so I that’s what got my foot in the door. I recommend taking the advocate training program through your local rape crisis and doing some volunteer work for a while. As an advocate, you are usually present at the bedside while the nurse does the SART exam so you will get a better idea of what it involves. There is a high burnout factor for a lot of people In this field but I personally love it, it is my passion. Also you occasionally may have to testify in court.

SarahMaria, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Forensics, Addictions. Has 9 years experience.

On 6/24/2020 at 9:39 AM, Veeeismee said:

WOW!!. That sounds intense, but super interesting.

what is a typical day like for your field? What type of work do you do for these patients?

I looked up SANEs and it looked like abuse cases one for adults and one specializing in children.

what other types of forensic nursing is there? Does your title open you to all scopes of forensics or limit you to just psychiatric?

thanks for responding 🙂

Hello,

A typical day is usually without any crises. Administer medications, lots of PRNs, and engage with the patients. On an atypical day, we can be restraining, doing takedowns, and giving emergency IM medications.

I believe in forensic nursing, there are SANEs and psychiatric nurses. I am not sure of other areas.

SANE nurses in Cal at least are mostly certified in adults and peds. In addition, At my hospital we also covered physical assaults and abuse, which isn’t always the case with many places. My typical day was a 12 hour shift where I hung out in a private office with kitchen, living room, interview room, and exam room. When a patient presented in the ER, I would go down and do my thing if it was straightforward stuff or bring them back to do in my office if it was sexual or something sensitive (After the pt was medically cleared). Some cases had to be done in the ER while pt is being worked on by a ton of docs, which is very stressful.  Trying to photo injuries real quick and not interfering while someone is being intubated etc. if someone expires, it becomes a coroner’s case and we are out of the loop.  Sometimes we did them on the floor or ICU if we didn’t catch them in the ER. The physical assaults are pretty quick but child abuse and sexual assaults can take around 3 hours. So if you get a backlog of pts, you are stressing. 85% of the time it’s pretty chill and the other 15% is gnarly!  Also it involves lots of interaction with law enforcement. 

SeaH20RN, BSN

Specializes in ER, Forensic Nurse, SANE.

To become a SANE nurse you must find a 40hour adolescent /Adult Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner course. This is the basic step. You do not need an BSN, MSN or Certificate. You will need training on speculum exams, collecting evidence, documentation and photography. 

Reach out to your local Rape Crisis Center for more information or PM me  for questions.