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Consider a nurse working in an emergency room who sees a young boy with a broken arm. Then perhaps she notices signs of other recent injuries. A properly trained forensic nurse may realize that boy is being abused and can take appropriate action to collect evidence, contact the appropriate authorities, and testify if necessary.

Types of Traditional and Online Forensic Nursing Programs

All forensic nurse programs should teach you about collecting evidence, criminal procedures, and legal testimony. Forensic nursing certificate programs take less time than degree programs, particularly if you're already a nurse looking to specialize in forensics. Essentially, the difference between a forensic nurse program and regular nursing school is that a regular nurse learns how to clean a wound while a forensic nurse learns how to collect evidence before it gets cleaned away.

Career Paths for Graduates of Forensic Nursing Programs

While most forensic nurses work in emergency rooms or other hospital settings, you do have other options. For instance, you could become a medico-legal death investigator, which is a rapidly growing field where you help identify remains through forensic evidence. Other career options include:

  • Evidence collection trainer
  • Expert medical witness
  • Medical legal consultant
  • Sexual assault nurse examiner


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