Forensic Nurse: A Career with Demand Higher than Competition
forensic nursing is a concept that appeared on the career market place just a few years ago, and it continues to be a choice for those seeking a nursing career in which jobs are still easy to find. Learn all about it by checking out a few of the best forensic nurse university programs.
The International Association of Forensic Nursing was started by a group of nurses who met at a 1992 convention for "sexual assault nurses." During the convention, these professionals realized that there was a need for interaction between the medical profession and lawyers, courts, police departments and other law related agencies.
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Contrary to what you might think, forensic nurses do not work primarily on corpses, although they can contribute to determinations of the cause of death. The word "forensic" is an adjective referring to argument or debate in courts of law. The duties of a forensic nurse could involve examinations following any type of crime, treating inmates in prison setting, counseling families on domestic violence, and representing either the accused or the victims of crime in courts of law.
Today the IAFN consists of over 3000 members in 22 countries. Due to the rapid growth, the organization has been able to establish sub-specialties, opening the door for universities to develop specialty certificates that focus on training individuals for highly specialized subject areas such as treatment of prisoners of war, holistic approaches to health, appropriate research and use of prescription drugs, the study of weapons of war and their effect on civilian populations, pediatric sexual abuse, and much more.
One of the goals of the IAFN is to have a forensic nurse on duty at every hospital, especially in the emergency room as this is usually the first contact point when an individual appear who has been involved in a crime. While the injured must be cared for, certain cleaning procedures can destroy evidence that might be used to put a criminal behind bars or put a stop to illegal drug use. A forensic nurse will know what to look for and what notes to take.
A forensic nurse could work as either a nurse consultant or even as an attorney. Since hours are often irregular—meaning calls in the middle of the night or on weekends or holidays—you can expect the salary to be very high compared with that of other nurses.
While nurses are not required to have an advance degree in order to be a forensic nurse, the IAFN has developed a core curriculum, variations of which are offered at numerous universities. Graduate and certificate programs are available as well as certification by the IAFN itself.