Forensic Nurse Schools and Career Information

Written by NS StaffJune 30, 2011
Forensic Nurse

Forensic Nurse Career Information

Are you hooked on forensic dramas and crime scene investigation shows on TV? Are you interested in science and the law? Do you want to help victims get justice and overcome their injuries? If so, you might want to consider a career in forensic nursing. It's an exciting new field that lets you use your nursing knowledge and skills in the scientific investigation of deaths, traumatic accidents, or criminal activity. You will also aid in the treatment of victims of abuse, violence, or accidents. There are many subspecialties you can pursue as a forensic nurse, from legal consultant to death investigator.

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Forensic nurses and interpersonal violence specialists work with law enforcement, hospitals, and prisons to collect evidence from survivors and perpetrators of violent crime and to provide health care to crime victims. They are often called on to serve as expert witnesses, providing court testimony in legal proceedings. Forensic nurses draw upon their expertise to offer courts their opinions on the causes of traumatic or suspicious deaths, or on the adequacy of delivered medical services (in malpractice suits).

See a list of schools/colleges offering nursing programs

Programs to Consider:


There are various ways to start your career in forensic nursing. Many vocational schools and universities now offer certification programs with courses focused on specific specialties of forensic nursing, such as sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). Another option is to enroll in a traditional nursing program and take forensic nursing elective courses. For experienced nurses, there are graduate-level forensic nursing programs. Coursework includes victimology, forensic mental health, interpersonal violence, criminology, and criminal justice.

Once you've completed the relevant coursework, you can look into certification options to give yourself greater credibility, especially when testifying in court. The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI) offers certification for nurse death investigators. The American College of Forensic Examiners (ACFEI) offers the Certified Forensic Nurse designation. And the International Association of Forensic Nurses provides licensing for sexual assault examiners.

To learn more about how to get a nursing degree, request information from one of the nursing schools listed below: