Forensic nursing grew out of the specialization among nurses in treating sexual assault victims and victims of domestic violence. These individuals, usually ER nurses, were often called to testify in court.
Today forensic nursing specialists gather evidence and provide testimony for personal injury and product liability lawyers. Many have left the practice of nursing and have offices in law firms that specialize in cases related to medical issues. Many also remain in a medical setting, working with sexual assault victims and elder abuse victims.
At the minimum a degree in nursing is required for this job. Some forensic nurses are nurse practitioners. It is also important that a forensic nurse follow the continuing education requirements and maintain a current nursing license, in order to maximize credibility in a legal setting. Courses and even majors are available in forensic nursing at some colleges.
There are several thousand forensic nurses active in the United States and thousands more that do forensic work on a spot basis or work on-call for hospitals that treat sexual assault victims.
As the range of services provided by forensic nurses has grown, so has the job market for those interested in a profession. There is a perennial shortage of nurses in this country and the same can no doubt be said for specialists such as forensic nurses.
Salary varies by location, experience and employer.
Forensic Nurses can earn from $26 to $100 dollars an hour on a consulting basis.
Legal Forensic Nurses with experience and a reputation can earn up to $150 per hour.