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Combining Two Loves: Criminal Justice and Nursing

January 17th, 2013

Many people struggle with two loves. They would love to work in criminal justice, but they also would love to work as a nurse. Many will start with criminal justice degree programs and then move on to nursing programs still undecided about which one they want more. What many people don’t know is that they can work with both at the same time. No, it’s not that they work two jobs. They combine the two disciplines and work as a forensic nurse.

About Forensic Nursing

As a nurse with the knowledge you gained from criminal justice programs, you monitor and care for patients’ health. When you’re a forensic nurse, you work with patients in the same capacity, but in law enforcement. If you’re thinking you’ll be working in a jail or prison, you’re right. However, there are many other settings you could work in as a forensic nurse. You could work with victims of rape, assault, domestic abuse, child and elder abuse.

Treating these people isn’t all you’ll do. You’ll look for evidence as you’re examining them. You may have to take DNA samples by clipping their hair, drawing blood and collecting urine. For any evidence found, you will have to document it in a record. This record could be used in court to find someone guilty of a crime.

Your job won’t end after you close the record and send it to the appropriate authorities. Sometimes, forensic nurses will be asked by the court to testify. They are required to report what they noticed when they first saw the victim, how they treated the victim, and what they believe is the prognosis.

The average salary for forensic nurses is $60,000 a year. There are some factors that affect your salary amount. One factor is where the nurse works. If she works in a rural area, the salary tends to be lower than if working in a city. It also depends on the setting; forensic nurses often make more money working in jails, prisons, and hospitals as opposed to the public sector.

How to Become a Forensic Nurse Majoring in Criminal Justice and RN to MSN Programs

Some people will major in two programs such as criminal justice and nursing, while others will seek a nursing program and specialize in criminal justice. Each university has its own program that helps students prepare to become a forensic nurse. Be sure to ask the educational institution you wish to enroll in for additional information on this exciting and rewarding career path.