Forensic Nurse


Life As A Forensic Nurse

A career in forensic nursing is a satisfying job. There are many different types of nurses, but forensic nursing is a fairly unique job. Times can get a little tense, the pressures mount, it is a stressful career. But you can take pride in knowing that you’ve helped someone on the worst day of their lives.

You always have to understand that you’re working with people on the worst day of their lives. They have been violated, humiliated, and dehumanized. If they give you a little attitude, you need to keep in mind just what they’ve been through.

Yes, you’ll get called on a moment’s notice. Yes, you’ll have to stop what you’re doing. Sometimes, you’ll be right in the middle of something you really need to do personally. But you can take pride in knowing that you’re going to be someone’s lifeline.

You’re going to be the support they need, and you’re going to get the evidence you need to handle the perpetrator. It’s not about you. It’s not about the person that hurt your patient. It’s all about your patient. It’s the worst day of their life.

They need YOU. They need you to keep a level head and help them. They may not always be accommodating to your every instruction, but they DO need your help. A forensic nursing career might be stressful. But it might be the best thing you ever do for yourself. You’ll be providing that lifeline to someone that’s at the lowest time of their life. You WILL make a difference.

Forensic Nursing Programs

If you’re a Registered Nurse interested in forensic nursing, there are plenty of forensic nursing schools across the country. There are even a few online programs that might help you.

If you’re interested in making a difference in someone who’s been badly hurt and can show enough empathy to provide comfort to them, this just might be a good career for you. This is a much needed service. You see, forensic nursing is about much more than collecting forensic evidence, it’s about actually caring about your patient.

This is not an ordinary job, and forensic nurses are not ordinary people. These are people that take a lot of pride in making a difference. There is a forensic nursing school online that I’ve heard is pretty good, and it comes through a really good name. It’s coordinated with the University Of California. Here is the information from the site:


The University of California has partnered with AFN[American Forensic Nurses, Inc.] to present a 60 hour online training program. This program is comprehensive, and goes into detail about what is involved in both the Adolescent & Adult Sexual Assault Examination.

The purpose of this course is to prepare both Registered Nurses and other licensed healthcare teammates to be able to perform proper standard forensic examinations on both the survivors of sexual assault, as well as the alleged perpetrators.

The course content is also useful for law enforcement officers, Prosecuting Attorneys, Defense Attorneys and victim advocates who desire to understand the processes, procedures and rationale for elements of this specialized forensic examination.

Once students have completed both the didactic and internship sections of the program, they may begin working as Sexual Assault Examiners[SANE, SANC, SAE, FNE, SAFE].

Education Needed For Forensic Nurses

To start, you have to be a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner. If you’re currently a Licensed Vocational Nurse, there are many LVN to RN programs available in your state. Most of the forensic nurses are SANE’s, sexual assault nurse examiners.

The reason these jobs exist is that it makes things so much easier on the survivors of sexual violence. You see, when most victims go into emergency rooms, many of them are in both physical and emotional pain. Having to wait for as long as six hours to get the exam done can make it very uncomfortable for the victim.


During this long wait, they are told that they can’t eat, drink, or use the bathroom because it might destroy evidence. When they do get into the exam room, the victim may feel violated all over again with all the poking and prodding. VERY uncomfortable considering the state of mind that the survivor of an assault is already in.

The Job Of The Forensic Nurse

A large part of the job of the forensic nurse comes into play by getting the victim in the examination room as soon as possible. Forensic nurses are specially trained in gathering accurate evidence and giving the victim much needed emotional support while complying with local law enforcement. It’s not an easy job, but it can be very rewarding.

Forensic nurses make a difference in the lives of survivor of sexual assault. They also provide a great service to the community by being an expert witness in the trials of the victim’s perpetrator. If you’re a registered nurse, a forensic nursing job might be good for you.

Becoming Certified As A Forensic Nurse

Pursuing a forensic nursing degree can be as overwhelming as it is rewarding. If you’re serious about getting certified in forensic nursing, there are many university based schools as well as online schools. One of these online schools is at the website.

They’re working in partnership with the University Of California offering nurses who are interested in the forensic aspects of nursing a complete online certificate program in forensic nursing.

They also have sexual assault examiner training tools(see website). Those are related to sexual assault, giving the sexual assault examiner the knowledge and skills necessary for conducting the sexual assault examination and for use in the development and operation of SANE programs.


If you’re interested in victim advocacy, consider enrolling in this program. This is a really good way to make a difference in your community. One thing about getting a forensic nursing degree: this is post grad training. That means that you should already be a Registered Nurse before you apply.