The forensic nursing career is relatively new compared to other nursing job profiles but it is as lucrative with average salaries ranging anywhere between USD 55,000 to USD 85,000 annually.
Advancement in medical technology has meant that its application is spreading to different fields like criminal justice. Specializations within the nursing profession have evolved into interesting careers. Forensic nursing is fast emerging as one of the most sought after careers in the nursing fraternity. This career is a mix of the healthcare and the judicial system where forensic nurses provide a more focused practice. Accepted by the American Nurses Association forensic nurses provide quality health care to individuals in the criminal justice system. Forensic nurses are also involved in solving crime by helping investigators with medical clues that might lead to catch the criminals.
Reports have indicated that forensic nurses earn hourly wages that range between $55 to $300, which is comparable to other nursing professions in the healthcare industry. Forensic nurses are hired by correctional institutions, medical examiners, the coroner’s office, etc. Insurance companies also hire forensic nurses to investigate claims.
Forensic nurses are qualified registered nurses (RN’s) with a specialization in forensic science. They are well equipped to provide healthcare services to individuals while maintaining focus on the forensic aspect of the job. The salary is affected by various factors and one of them is job location. Nurses working in urban setting earn higher wages than their counterparts working in rural settings. Economics dictate that where cost of living is high the salaries are higher than places with a low-cost of living. Here is a table of state wise salary statistics of forensic nurses.
Experience in the field also plays a major part in deciding the salary of a forensic nurse along with factors like type of employer and educational qualification. Sub specialization in forensic nursing like, sexual assault or death investigators earn considerably higher wages than their counterparts. Statistics for sub specialization nursing jobs reveal the following information about the forensic nurse wages.
|Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner||105,000|
|Crime Scene Nurse Examiner||85,000|
|Psychiatric Nurse Examiner||75,000|
|Nurse Examiner Clinician||65,000|
Many forensic nurses work freelance and as consultants for insurance companies and other institutions and are compensated quite well for their services. Forensic nurses working as consultants can expect hourly wages that range between $35 – $50. Some with experience are known to earn hourly wages that cross the $100 mark.
This is an exciting career because it mixes traditional healthcare with criminal investigation. One aspect of the job is to care for patients who are detained by the justice department and law enforcement agencies. Forensic Nurses will examine individuals who have been incarcerated in jails and juvenile facilities. They will conduct routine health examinations and prepare reports. Another aspect of the forensic nurse job profile is to care for the victims of crime, these victims can range from sexual assault to gunshot and stab victims. They will also collect DNA samples from crime scene and suspects to help detectives with their investigations.
In some cases they will also have to attend a court to give their expert testimony during trials. A few forensic nurses will also be hired by the coroner’s office and the job description constitutes examining dead bodies to rule out foul play and investigate the cause of death. They will also examine the body to determine the time of death as it may prove vital in solving the crime. Making reports and assisting the coroner with postmortems are some of the other duties they perform.
The increase in crime rate and the need for expert healthcare professionals in the criminal justice system has led to the high demand of forensic nurses. Analysts believe that the profession is going to see exponential growth in the coming years making it a good career option.