The Importance of Forensic Nursing Training

By – James M. Katz, BA

Working in the healthcare education field, I have seen first-hand the vital role that forensic nursing training plays in both patient care and legal proceedings. Forensic nursing is a specialized field of nursing that combines medical care with the criminal justice system. Forensic nurses are trained to provide care to patients who have experienced trauma, collect and preserve evidence, and testify in court as expert witnesses. They are extremely valuable to the criminal justice system and help many victims receive justice.

The article below showcases the ever growing need for forensic nurses and the increased need for Forensic Nursing Training. It is an excellent read and further illustrates the need for more nursing professionals in the forensic field.

UCHealth’s team of forensic nurses cared for 2,515 children and adults in this city last year who were sexually assaulted, choked or beaten and in need of a medical exam that could become evidence in a criminal case.

These exams — more than six per day on average — took place mostly in Memorial Hospital’s emergency department, a Level I trauma center punctuated by the sounds of beeping machines, shouting amongst doctors treating gunshot victims, and law officers standing guard outside of patient rooms.

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Picture of Crime Scene Tape with a Forensic Nurse.


The Role of Forensic Nurses in Patient Care and Legal Proceedings

Forensic nurses play a critical role in both patient care and legal proceedings. In terms of patient care, forensic nurses are trained to treat patients who have experienced trauma, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. They are also trained to collect and preserve evidence, such as DNA samples, photographs, and medical records. This evidence can be used in legal proceedings to help ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

In legal proceedings, forensic nurses are often called upon to testify as expert witnesses. They can provide testimony about the injuries sustained by the victim, the collection and preservation of evidence, and the medical treatment that was provided. This testimony can be crucial in helping to secure a conviction and ensuring that justice is served.

Importance of Forensic Nursing Training

Forensic nursing is a complex and specialized field that requires extensive training. Without proper training, forensic nurses may not be able to provide the level of care that is required or may not be able to collect and preserve evidence properly. Additionally, without proper training, forensic nurses may not be able to testify effectively in court.

Forensic nursing training is critical to ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and that justice is served in legal proceedings. Forensic nursing training provides nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to provide comprehensive care to patients who have experienced trauma. It also provides nurses with the training they need to collect and preserve evidence properly, which can be critical in securing a conviction.

Types of Forensic Nursing Training

There are several types of forensic nursing training available, including continuing education courses, certification programs, and degree programs. Continuing education courses are designed to provide ongoing education to nurses who are already working in the field. Certification programs are designed to provide nurses with a credential that demonstrates their expertise in forensic nursing. Degree programs, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a forensic nursing specialization, are designed to provide nurses with advanced knowledge and skills in the field.

Benefits of Forensic Nursing Training for Nurses and Patients

Forensic nursing training provides a wide range of benefits for both nurses and patients. For nurses, forensic nursing training can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher salaries, and more career opportunities. For patients, forensic nursing can lead to better outcomes, including improved physical and mental health, greater access to justice, and increased safety.

By providing comprehensive care to patients who have experienced trauma, forensic nurses can help to reduce the long-term physical and psychological effects of trauma. Additionally, by collecting and preserving evidence properly, forensic nurses can help to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

Challenges Faced by Forensic Nurses and How Training Can Help

Forensic nursing is a challenging and often emotionally taxing field. Forensic nurses may be exposed to graphic and disturbing images and may be required to testify in court, which can be stressful and intimidating. Additionally, forensic nurses may face challenges related to the collection and preservation of evidence, such as a lack of resources or support.

Forensic nursing training can help to address these challenges by providing nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to cope with the emotional demands of the field. It can also provide nurses with the training they need to overcome challenges related to evidence collection and preservation.

Forensic Nursing Certifications and Qualifications

Certifications and qualifications are an important part of the forensic nursing field. Forensic nursing certifications, such as the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) certification, demonstrate a nurse’s expertise in the field and can help to increase their job opportunities and salary. Qualifications, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a forensic nursing specialization, can provide nurses with advanced knowledge and skills in the field.

It’s important to note that forensic nursing certifications and qualifications vary by state and by institution. It’s important for nurses to research the requirements in their state or institution before pursuing certification or further education.

Conclusion: The Importance of Investing in Forensic Nursing Training

Forensic nursing is a vital and specialized field that requires extensive training. Forensic nurses play a critical role in providing care to patients who have experienced trauma and in ensuring that justice is served in legal proceedings. Forensic nursing training provides nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to provide comprehensive care to patients and to collect and preserve evidence properly.

Investing in forensic nursing training is critical to ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and that justice is served in legal proceedings. By providing nurses with the training they need to excel in the field, we can ensure that the forensic nursing profession continues to grow and provide the best possible care to patients.

With a growing need and a stable job market, becoming a forensic nurse is a great way to further your nursing career. If you feel Forensic Nursing would be a good idea for you, please feel free to visit our Forensic Nursing Certification webpage.


Wiki Forensic Nursing Page –

International Association of Forensic Nurses –

Additional Resources:

The opinions of senior nursing students about forensic nursing. Topçu, E.T., Kazan, E.E.  Egypt J Forensic Sci 8, 16 (2018).

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Forensic clinical nurses in emergency departments: An emerging need for New Zealand. Donaldson, A. (2019). Kaitiaki Nursing Research, 10(1), 54–58.

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Evolution of Forensic Nursing Theory–Introduction of the Constructed Theory of Forensic Nursing Care: A Middle-Range Theory. Valentine JL, Sekula LK, Lynch V. J Forensic Nurs. 2020 Oct/Dec;16(4):188-198. doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000287. PMID: 32379251; PMCID: PMC7678647.

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The polymorphism of crime scene investigation: An exploratory analysis of the influence of crime and forensic intelligence on decisions made by crime scene examiners. Tatiana Resnikoff, Et al. Forensic Science International, Volume 257, 2015, Pages 425-434, ISSN 0379-0738.

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Forensic Nursing C.S.I. meets E.R

Looking for some great forensic nursing information?    Then perhaps you should check out our friends over at    They recently created an infograph about forensic nursing science and C. S. I. (crime scene investigation).

For full information please visit this link

forensic nursing
Forensic nursing combines police work with the medical field.

For more information on becoming certified in forensic nursing and taking online courses in forensic nursing please visit our main site.

Forensic Nursing: Away at College

How Forensic Nursing Students; Take Time to Talk to Your Family!

My neighbor and I have been good friends ever since she moved into the apartment next to mine three years ago. I always try to do what I can to spend time with her because I know that she gets lonely sometimes. She only has one daughter and her daughter is away at college. She is studying forensic nursing. I think that she is really enjoying studying in this field. My neighbor has been able to visit her a couple of times since she went away to college and her daughter has been able to come home several times as well. I have met her daughter a few times and she seems like she is a very nice young woman. I think that the field that she has chosen to work in is very suitable for her. She has explained some of the things that she has been learning to me quite a few times and I always enjoy hearing about it.
If you are looking into further your nursing career then perhaps you might be interested in taking a few online forensic nursing courses or even completing a forensic nursing certification.   Both options are available from the link above.    Now is a great time to start thinking about your future in nursing.

Forensic nursing
Forensic nursing in court

Forensic Nursing Practice: A Growing Specialty

Gavel with red heart and pills on white. Medical law concept.What is Forensic Nursing?

Specialized nurses that focus mainly on medicine with science and criminology as it pertains to the law are known as forensic nurses, and are practicing forensic nursing. Normally forensic nursing consists of assisting forensic scientists and forensic psychologists in collecting data in order to create a more realistic picture of the events that lead to each particular case. They have specialized training in the collection of forensic evidence, as well as criminal procedures and more. They are also called upon in court to provide their forensic expertise in the form of a testimony. The forensic nursing field often works with criminal victims that are the product of violent and intense mental and physical abuse. They serve mainly as the liaison between both the medical field and the criminal justice system. For this reason, it is critical that forensic nurses are familiarized with both fields. With the advancement of forensic technology, forensic nurses play a critical role in the criminal justice system used today.
The majority of forensic nursing is done outside of the hospital. They are normally the first medical representatives called upon to make the first assessments of a victim’s condition and dictate which procedures will follow next. It is typical for forensic nurses to posses the ability to properly asses the victims in a chaotic environment. Some situations can be hectic and a forensic nurse must be able to remain calm and make quick and correct decisions with a stressful situation surrounding them.
Forensic nursing is also needed in other areas outside of the criminal justice world. In the event of a natural disaster, these nurses play a large role in determining whether victims caught in a storm, hurricane, earthquake or flood will make it through alive or not. In the event that there are some people that did not survive a natural disaster, these nurses use their forensic training to help identify bodies and collect evidence to better aid research.

 How to Become a Forensic Nurse?

If you are interested in the forensic nursing field, there are several programs that are designed to train a person and prepare them for this field. First, however, you must become and gain experience as a registered nurse. While you are on your way to becoming a registered nurse, it will be beneficial to take as many courses in forensic science and nursing as possible. Different courses will be available depending upon the school you choose. It is recommended that you consider which course there schools offer before hand as the choices and quality of their course offerings will vary. Attend your chosen college or university and complete your RN degree. This will normally take 2-4 years depending if you decide to get your associates or bachelor degrees. Such degrees offered are normally associates of science in nursing (BSN), associates of science in nursing (BSN), or register in an RN program. Also, you will be required to pass your NCLE exam to gain your license and begin working as a registered nurse. Once you have graduated and accumulate a few years as an RN, you will then have to start specializing in the various forensic nursing fields. Such fields include courses in forensic clinical nursing, correctional nursing, forensic investigation, forensic psychiatric nursing, forensic gerontology, death investigation, sexual assault examination and legal forensics. When you have the appropriate experience working as a registered nurse and have gained knowledge within the previously mentioned fields, you will need to earn your certification that demonstrates this knowledge and commitment to the forensic nursing field. Such certifications include the FNCB, the IAFN, SANE-A and SANE-P certifications and the forensic nurse specialist certification from the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.
It is a difficult and long road to get into the forensic nursing field however it is a rewarding and interesting profession. As the demand for forensic nursing increases, the salary and benefits for this profession will rise. Currently, forensic nurses can make anywhere between $25-$60 per hour depending upon that persons experience and employer. Many forensic nurses continue to work as registered nurses on a full time bases. This usually is accompanied with an on call forensic nursing status which is paid 1 ½ ties their base pay rate. Whether you are currently working as a registered nurse or looking to gain entry into this field, forensic nursing may provide you with that step up in your career that you have been looking for.

Forensic Nursing Certification Bridges the Gap Between Medicine and Law

Registered nurses who want to make a difference in the lives of victims of violence should consider pursing  forensic nursing. In the United States forensic nurses play a crucial role in providing both emergency nursing care to patients and preserving biological and physical evidence that can help bring criminals to justice. These specialized medical professionals are often called upon to provide sworn statements for legal proceedings in cases where a victim has been physically or sexually assaulted. The skills learned during the certification process for forensic nursing include injury identification, assessment, documentation and collection of evidence for criminal investigations. Many practicing nurses enjoy the challenges involved with caring for patients who are victims of violence as this type of work involves continuous learning. In some communities where there is no coroner available, forensic nurses may conduct death investigation work. Nurses who have achieved certification in forensics also find work as legal nurse consultants to law firms and insurance companies.

Forensic Nursing: A Rewarding Practice Specialty

The practice of nursing in the intersection where medical and legal/criminal systems overlap is known as forensic nursing. The basic premise of forensic nursing is that a nurse in this specialty will care for patients who are injured as a result of violence. This can include either the perpetrator or the victim of the violent act, but it is usually the victim who is the patient. Patients who are the victims of abuse, assault or other  physically aggressive violence often suffer from deeply-inflicted trauma in the psychological, physical, and even social senses. A forensic nurse is educated and trained to be an expert in the needs and requirements of the law as it relates to victims and perpetrators of violent crimes, and can play an important role in a legal action. They may provide evidence they have collected, may testify in court regarding the patient and the injuries inflicted, and may play a consulting role for the authorities involved in the legal proceedings.
Just as with any other nurse, the primary responsibility of a forensic nurse is to provide the best possible medical and health care for patients. The difference is that the patients in forensic nursing have been assaulted, abused or otherwise injured, and the nurse is an expert in the optimum treatment for all injuries, whether they are physical or mental. Most often the nature of these injuries is sexual, and rape victims and victims of other types of sexual abuse and aggression are the first patients assigned to a forensic nurse.
Skills in many areas uncommon for a regular nurse come into play in this case. A forensic nurse can identify injuries, professionally evaluate the type and extent of the injuries, document the details and results of the abusive incident, and properly collect and store evidence of the crime, both physical and biological. A forensic nurse must also be able to communicate effectively with legal representatives and law enforcement authorities, and testify as an expert witness in courtroom proceedings regarding the case at hand.
There are different types of forensic nurses, who can specialize even within their specialty, so to speak. Victims of sex crimes will be the majority of the patients in forensic nursing, especially in the US, but there are other areas of specialization possible as well. One track for a forensic nurse to take is to be a death investigator, sometimes even acting as a coroner in local government. These nurses specialize in investigating and documenting the causes and circumstances of death, and in dealing with the legal authorities and families involved as a result of the death.
Having these types of nurses on staff is increasingly important for corrections facilities, psychiatric and mental hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. Specialization is also possible for forensic nurses who are interested in helping victims of domestic violence, and elder and child abuse and neglect, in emergency services facilities and staff training, and in public health clinics and agencies. In all of these cases, the nurse provides care to the patient and interfaces with the legal authorities as needed, but each one requires an extensive knowledge of law and law enforcement in small areas of practice.
Forensic nursing is important in the effort to reduce violent crime because these medical experts can be highly visible members of a team that provides care to victims of violent crimes. Their testimony and the documentation and evidence they can provide may be crucial in obtaining a satisfactory legal outcome for a victim and patient. By fulfilling the role they have chosen, forensic nurses become an important part of the overall effort to administer justice in a community, and will have a very rewarding career.