Nursing is one of the most rewarding and highest-paying careers in the current job market. It offers a stable career outlook owing to the continuously rising demand in the health sector. In fact, highly qualified and well-trained registered nurses are considered substitutes or alternatives to doctors and are consulted directly in most emergency situations.
Several educational and certification options exist for nurses to pursue their duties in the medical and healthcare fields. Forensic nursing is one such similar specialty that is best for nurses looking for alternatives to hospitals and regular clinical settings.
What is a Forensic Nurse?
A forensic nurse is a nurse who provides medical care to victims of crime. Their work is both medical and legal as they assist with collecting and analyzing evidence to discover causes of death, caring for victims, legal proceedings, etc. In many cases, it appears as if a nurse is playing the role of an investigator, but there is more to the role than an investigator, and the responsibilities are more flexible.
The path to becoming a forensic nurse involves getting a postgraduate degree in forensic nursing and becoming a registered nurse.
What Are the Advantages of Working as A Forensic Nurse?
Let’s take a look at the five benefits of a career as a forensic nurse.
1. Financial Incentives
Forensic nursing has a promising career outlook due to its continual demand in a variety of sectors, such as legal aid and victim services. They are detail-oriented and confidential, owing to the sensitive nature of the job. As a result, a forensic nurse salary is higher than other registered nurses. Their average salary is estimated to be between £35k and £50k, depending on their expertise and years of experience.
2. Time Flexibility
Generally, registered nurses in hospitals and clinics work on a rotating schedule. As such, their schedules and workload fluctuate throughout the day and night. As opposed to this, forensic nurses tend to have fixed or on-call schedules every day, which allows them to customize their schedules as needed.
3. Wide range of specializations
As a forensic nurse, you have the option of choosing from a wide range of subspecialties, including forensic clinical nursing, correctional nursing, forensic gerontology, nursing coroners, and legal nursing consultants.
Forensic nurses specialize in various settings, from psychiatric care facilities to law firms. They are employed at forensic nursing schools, psychiatric forensic departments, sexual assault examination programs, emergency rooms, and death investigation units.
Correctional nursing specialists work in prisons, juvenile detention centers, and other correctional facilities, whereas Forensic gerontology specialists work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other elderly care facilities. In addition, nurse coroners and legal nurse consultants facilitate crime investigation units, legal firms, and private practice offices.
4. Safer Communities
Overall, nursing is a career that appeals to individuals who want to help and support patients and make a difference in society. Forensic nursing could be no clear choice as it contributes to a safer community by examining victims and survivors. In addition, they gather evidence against suspects, hold perpetrators accountable, and facilitate justice.
5. Capacity Building
Forensic nursing paves the way for registered nurses to expand their knowledge and broaden their skills in forensic training. They are trained to assess an injury or illness and document it objectively. Moreover, their training allows them to preserve forensic data and evidence and conduct legal and criminal investigations. Their area of expertise also helps prevent trauma and psychological health risks to victims of crimes of violent and sexual nature.
Forensic nurses are familiar with the criminal justice system and court proceedings. In some instances, they may testify as witnesses in court to describe victims’ conditions and share medical and psychological details to deliver a sound judgment on the case.
6. Empathy and Contentment
As a forensic nurse, empathy is a valuable skill that helps bring positive changes in patients’ lives. Most patients facing trauma have been abused and violently assaulted, requiring comfort and cooperation. As a result, forensic nurses work with victims to help them cope with trauma and regain control of their lives.
Many forensic nurses work in non-profit organizations and promote a healthy and peaceful society through anti-violence programs.
As a fast-evolving specialty, forensic nursing assists in administering criminal justice and bridges the gap between medical and legal fields. Their communication skills, critical thinking combined with compassion and understanding of legal systems allow them to help survivors and their families.
As a forensic nurse, you must be very committed and conscientious of the safety of your patients and ensure that they recover quickly after a traumatic experience. Moreover, you can play an essential part in helping injured people by working for emergency relief programs. Additionally, you are eligible to teach in universities and pass on the knowledge by sharing practical experiences.