Should you go into forensic nursing? If you do, one question you have to ask yourself is how much you will make if you decide to make a career out of it. Fortunately, the job outlook is very promising because the Bureau of Labor and Statistics believe it will go up in the next 10 years.
But how much does a forensic nurse make now? Most professionals right now earn about $26 to $100 per hour which is roughly $54k to $208k a year. You have to remember that this depends on your skill; speciality, tenure, location and experience so don’t expect to earn a lot when you are just starting out.
Most forensic nurses do not work inside the hospital because they are called to a scene. If the victim is brought to the hospital for an examination, that person will get $1 to $4 dollars an hour. If you get lucky, you could get $150 to $400 depending on what was agreed upon.
But money should not be the prime factor in deciding whether or not to pursue a career in this field. Just like nurses who work in the hospital, you have to enjoy helping people. Instead of helping patients, most of the time, you are helping victims.
Many who work in forensic nursing are involved in helping victims of sexual assault. This is done by conducting an evidentiary exam so anything collected will make it easier for the police to arrest the person responsible. One of the wonders we have today is the use of DNA so if there is a match, there is no doubt that the police have the right person in custody.
Some forensic nurses work in the field of pathology by helping the medical examiner determine the cause of death. This means opening up the victim and then providing the investigating team clues so the killer can be arrested.
But solving crimes is not the only thing that a forensic nurse does. They also give psychiatric evaluations to see if the person is fit to stand trial or to help convicts who are released from prison to find a decent job. After all, it is not easy to find employment when you have spent some time in the joint.
You may also find a permanent in the hospital by processing tissue and organ donation by talking to the family of the terminally ill patient then asking if they are willing to do so. While some will not agree to this, there are those who are willing so part of your job is to make sure that the paperwork has been filled up correctly.
Forensic nursing is a new field that was only established in early 1990’s. Although the program is similar to that of the regular nurse, what makes you different is that you will also be focusing on the criminal justice system, forensic mental health, interpersonal violence, perpetrator theory and victimology.
The salary range of forensic nurses is very broad. You can work for the local authorities or establish your own private practice. What is important is that you like what you are doing so the first thing you have to do is go to school and earn that degree. One last hurdle you will have to face is the exam.