Forensic Nursing - As a forensic nurse, your specialty is caring for both victims and perpetrators of violence. Responsibilities of the job include gathering evidence, consulting with medical professionals, law enforcement and legal agencies, and testifying in court when needed. Essentially, a forensic nurse is the liaison between the criminal justice system and the medical profession, often in an emergency room, with a strong knowledge base and training in both fields. Occasionally forensic nurses may also work alongside medical examiners to determine cause of death in cases of natural disaster.
Forensic nurses must attend nursing school and meet all requirements to become a licensed nurse. They also require training in evidence collection and other aspects of the legal field. This additional training can be completed through sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) training or coursework, or a post-baccalaureate program in forensic nursing.
Legal Nurse Consultant – Legal nurse consultants are specially trained to consult with the legal field for abuse, neglect and sexual assault cases. They are experts on nursing and the healthcare system, and can thus be called as expert witnesses in court. Attorneys often turn to legal nurse consultants when they have cases involving the medical field in which they need more knowledge than they currently have. Responsibilities of this profession include review of medical records, translation of terminology, and testimony in court.
After becoming a licensed nurse, you can begin training to become a consultant by attending certified legal nurse consultant (CLNC) training. Once you become a CLNC, you can begin practicing in the field. There are several options to take these training courses online. A nurse can also attend a college or university or online nursing school offering a degree or certification in legal nurse consulting.
Like any other career, salaries for forensic nurses and legal nurse consultants vary depending on experience, location, and employer. Because of the advanced training necessary to work in these professions, one can expect to earn more than standard nursing wages. Recent estimates state forensic nurses can earn anywhere from $26 to $100 an hour, while legal nurse consultants can earn anywhere from $100 to $150 an hour.