Forensic nursing is one of the newest nurse specialties recognized and accredited by the American Nurses Association. It is a nursing specialty that trains nurses on how to use biological evidence to come-up with perpetrators of crimes. They are important in helping on legal proceedings where anomaly of the real victims and perpetrators of violence have to be decided using biological tests.
Forensic nurses are trained on collection of evidence, its preservation and testing in the lab. They are involved in criminal investigations involving sexual assault and mysterious death incidences.
Prerequisites for Admission for Masters in Forensics Nursing
Just like any other nursing specialty, students wishing to take a masters degree in forensic nursing must have earned a Bachelors of Science degree in nursing. In addition to this, nursing schools may request students to have an unencumbered RN license before you are allowed to do the MSN in Forensic Nursing Degree.
For non-nurse students, a bachelor’s degree in any other field of study from a recognized university may be used to may be used to enroll for forensic nursing.
Expected Curriculum of the Masters in Forensic Nursing Degree
Students looking forward to take the masters in forensic nursing must be prepared with ample investigation skills. They must be well prepared to work in devastating case scenarios involving crime, assault, manslaughter among others. Students must also be well equipped with honesty and ability to tell the truth even in compromising situations. Usually, the courses take the normal requirements of any MSN degree but having a concentration in forensic nursing:
Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) Core Courses
This includes all the courses taken by all masters of nursing students; regardless of their areas of nursing specialty. Such are:
Theory in nursing
Introduction to advanced practice nursing
Research methods in nursing
Population based nursing
Nursing ethics in decision making in health care
Forensic Nursing Specialty Courses
These courses give the student the real skills to deal with the work needs of the forensic nurse. It trains nurses on carrying out relevant forensic procedures and laboratory testing. Courses in this nursing specialty category include:
- Introduction to forensic nursing
- Trial preparation and criminal law
- Forensic science in relation to civil law and the legal system
- Practicum in forensic nursing
- Forensic science technologies
- Theories of violence
- Forensic science: caring for victims and perpetrators
- Advanced practice forensic nursing
Scope of Training in Forensic Nursing
For all the specialty courses in the masters in forensics nursing degree, RNs are trained on various aspects of evidence collection. Such training includes the ability to pick biological samples from skin, walls, glass or clothing. Such samples, also known as DNA samples help in a process called DNA profiling.
The basis of forensic nursing and identity is based on the fact that DNA from one individual differs from any other individuals’ hence, only one suspect can be linked to any one DNA sample analysis result.
Nurses are trained to match DNA profiles from samples collected from crime scenes to suspects DNA profiles; an accurate method of ascertaining identity. Samples that nurses are trained to collect include urine samples, hair, skin cells, sexual fluids, blood among others.
What does a Masters Degree in forensic Nursing Prepare you for?
The main objective of study in the masters of forensic nursing degree is to prepare the advanced practice registered nurse in carrying out tasks like:
- Conducting forensic nursing assessment for cases of inflicted trauma
- Form part of the legal process as they can be called upon to testify in a court of law or act a medical witness.
- Become a sexual assault examiner, torture and death investigation screener
- Paternity assessment for conflicting paternity in children using DNA profiling methods
- Become an expert in criminal investigations which involves robbery, break-ins and theft.
- Working alongside attorneys as legal nurse consultants for cases with a medical base
- Forensic nurses also become counselors for both the perpetrators and (or) victims of crime