Forensic nurses combine clinical nursing practice in conjunction with knowledge of law enforcement. They provide care to victims and are involved in the investigation of sexual assault, elder and spousal abuse, and unexplained or accidental death. Forensic nursing is high stress because of the nature of the work, and it requires a broad understanding of social, environmental, and psychological influences on behavior. The environments in which forensic nurses work are varied. They work in such settings as correctional institutions, psychiatric facilities, acute care settings, coroner and medical examiners’ offices, and for insurance companies.
Registered nurse preparation and Bachelor of Science in Nursing are required; often, graduate preparation is required. Certification from Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) may also be needed for some practice settings.
CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED
■ Ability to work in diverse conditions and deal with emotionally charged issues
■ Ability to combine nursing knowledge with investigative and counseling skills
■ Ability to collaborate with experts in other disciplines
■ Be an advocate for victims
■ Coordinate programs in collaboration with medical and law enforcement
■ Be able to deal with death and dying
RELATED WEB SITE AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION
■ Forensic Nursing Services (http://www.forensicnursing.org)