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  • Online Forensic Nursing Certificate…

Online Forensic Nursing Certificate Program Information

Learn about online certificate programs with forensic nursing courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.


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Essential Information

Forensic nursing certificate programs are usually offered at the professional or graduate level and are typically open to licensed registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, undergraduate certificate programs may be open to licensed RNs who hold an associate’s degree, and there are a few programs designed for advanced practice nurses. Rarely, other medical professionals, like licensed practical nurses or paramedics, may also be eligible for certain forensic nursing certificate programs.

Several online and hybrid programs are available and may be available in several specialty areas. The majority of the curriculum can be completed online, although students may need to attend campus or a medical facility to complete clinical training in working at crime scenes to gather evidence or examining victims of sexual assault. Some hybrid programs may also include on-campus classes.

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Forensic Nursing Certificate

Forensic nursing combines the medical knowledge and patient care aspects of nursing, the laboratory experience of medical laboratory technicians and the investigative and evidence-gathering skills of crime-scene specialists. Forensic nurses work with the police, paramedics, coroners, social service agencies and emergency medical services.

Online graduate certificate programs in forensic nursing are primarily designed for practicing nurses with bachelor’s degrees who wish to explore career options in forensic science .

Program Information and Requirements

One focus of forensic nursing training is on the treatment of victims of accidents, trauma and disasters. This includes helping the victims’ families, recognizing abuse and neglect, preserving forensic evidence and preparing for courtroom testimony. Other specialties within forensic nursing include nurse coroner, legal nurse consultant, correctional nursing specialist and sexual assault nurse examiner.

Distance education forensic nursing certificate programs average 12-15 credits, and these programs can be completed in 9-24 months. Classes are generally fully online, but some schools require occasional on-site attendance for classes or seminars. Some courses may have clinical components that require the student to attend on-site classes or make an arrangement with a nearby clinical facility.

Online courses require a computer with multimedia capabilities and a fast Internet connection. Students need basic computer competence in text processing, Web-searching and e-mail. Courses delivered online can include audio and video lectures, slide presentations, chat room interactions and online field trips.

Course Topics

Most of the coursework is fully online. For courses with clinical components, schools help students arrange clinical practice at sites near their homes; such sites can include acute care settings, protective investigation units, sexual assault examination teams or crime scene units. Courses include:

Evidence Collection

The course covers evidence collection and preservation, the legal rules of crime scene processing and chain of custody law. Procedures common to police departments, social service agencies and courtrooms are also discussed.

Courtroom Testimony

Students learn the various types of courtroom experiences for forensic nurses, including legal consultation, deposition and testimony. Some programs have students participate in a mock-trial courtroom experience, which may be held onsite, rather than online.

Forensic Photography in Health Care

The use of photographs to bolster physical evidence is discussed, along with cameras, lenses and lighting. Included in the course are forensic procedures and techniques, like the inclusion of scale objects, establishing context with distant set-up shots, and maintenance of photographs’ chain of custody.

Emergency and Trauma

The medical objective to provide appropriate medical care to a victim must be balanced with the forensic objective of preserving evidence. Techniques to accomplish both with the least compromise are discussed. Also discussed are triage and care during disasters.

Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal violence includes sexual assault and battery, abuse and neglect, human trafficking, spousal abuse and religious abuse. Other topics include the forensic processing of bite marks, blunt trauma, sharp injuries and gun wounds.


Career Information

Forensic nurses require an active RN license to practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not track separate data for forensic nurses, but states a projected job growth for all RNs to be 16% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for RNs in 2015 was $67,490.

Most forensic nurses work for acute care medical facilities, law enforcement, legal services, social services, coroners and in nursing schools. Some are self-employed as independent consultants and expert witnesses.

Certification Information

The International Association of Forensic Nurses (www.iafn.org) offers exam-based certification credentials as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, either for adults and adolescents (SANE-A) or for pediatric and adolescent populations (SANE-P). Other certification agencies for forensic nurses include the Correctional Health Professional from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the Legal Nurse Consultant from the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

RNs interested in applying their trade to help solve crimes will want to pursue an undergraduate or graduate certificate in forensic nursing. Online courses offered in these programs teach RNs about evidence collection, court testimonies, trauma care and other topics related to medicine and forensics.


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    Online MSN in Forensic Nursing

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    Every nurse takes vitals.
    Some collect evidence.

    Imagine that you’re about to treat a sexual assault victim. Your role is to serve as an advocate for the patient. How do you provide trauma-informed care? What would you do to preserve the chain of evidence during your exam? These are the questions forensic nurses are prepared to answer. And now is your time to become one.

    Choose Duquesne University’s online MSN in Forensic Nursing and graduate from one of the few programs in the country to offer in-depth study in all areas of forensic practice.

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    Study 100% online

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    3 start dates per year

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    No GRE required

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    Tuition discounts available

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    Prepare for SANE certification

    Why Earn Your MSN in Forensic Nursing Online?

    Earning a graduate degree online allows you to continue working in your current position and advance your career with a focus in forensics. Your new skills and knowledge can prepare you for greater earning potential and nursing leadership roles.

    The smart choice — a 100% online MSN in Forensic Nursing degree.

    • Prepare to become a certified SANE nurseYour certificate provides a prep course that includes the 40-hour SANE-A training necessary to sit for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification exam.
    • Flexible online program. Complete coursework and clinical requirements anywhere on your own timetable.
    • Learn from experts in the field. Our faculty and preceptors are expanding areas of forensic nursing practice.
    • Graduate from a top-ranked institution. Study at a School of Nursing ranked #45 for Best Online Graduate Nursing School Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
    • Build your network. Connect on campus with faculty and classmates from across the country during your three-day residency.
    Explore Forensic Nursing Careers

    Why Choose Duquesne for Your MSN in Forensic Nursing?

    We have been leaders in online education for over 20 years. In fact, in 2002 Duquesne launched one of the nation’s first forensic nursing programs, created by faculty members who are innovators within the field.

    Our program is rooted in forensic science
    and law.

    Our online MSN in Forensic Nursing program was designed in partnership with the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. You will learn to identify new methods and approaches to achieve civil and criminal justice. Our program prepares you to become a leader in this emerging nursing field.

    Study with us, and you can expect:

    • Broad-based forensic curriculum
    • Preparation for an advanced practice forensic role
    • Courses that include ethics, criminal law, evidence-based practice and healthcare policy

    “We offer one of the few forensic programs in the country — and we do it well. Our connection with the Cyril Wecht Institute is at such a level that the depth of education received at Duquesne is unparalleled.”

    Cherith Simmer, MS, RN, Assistant Dean at Duquesne School of Nursing

    Duquesne is consistently recognized for academic excellence:

    U.S. News Best Online Programs Grad Nursing Badge
    Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Badge
    NLN - National League for Nursing
    Military Friendly Top 10 School

    Our faculty are pioneers in forensic nursing.

    Meet Dr. Kathleen Sekula.

    She is more than a professor of forensic nursing. She’s a pioneer in the field. Not only did she develop one of the first Master of Science programs offering a specialty in forensic nursing, but she also now leads our forensic nursing graduate programs. She’s passionate about educating the next generation of forensic nurses. And she’s ready to teach you.

    Director of Forensic Nursing Graduate Programs and Professor of Nursing

    • Certificate, The Cyril H. Wecht Institute for Forensic Science and Law, 2002
    • PhD, Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 1998
    • MSN, University of Pittsburgh, 1986
    • BSN, Duquesne University, 1967
    • RN, St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing, 1964

    In 1998, Dr. Sekula joined the School of Nursing and served on the undergraduate and graduate faculty as a psychiatric mental health expert. In early 2001, because of her expertise in psychiatry, she was asked to develop a graduate program that would interface with the Wecht Institute certificate program. Forensic nursing was a new area of practice at the time, and the incidences of violence were growing at alarming rates. Through her work with other forensic specialists, she developed a unique forensic master’s program that incorporated courses developed in the law school. Subsequently, she secured two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) — both of which helped to make the forensic graduate programs among the most popular programs at Duquesne. In the process of developing these programs, Dr. Sekula recognized the need to offer SANE-A (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner — Adult) training programs online for nurses unable to attend the one-week training, so she created one. Now, Duquesne’s online SANE-A training is at the forefront in preparing nurses to serve the needs of victims of sexual assault throughout the country, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

    There’s no question: Dr. Sekula stands out as a leader in forensic nursing.

    • Elected to the board of directors for the International Association of Forensic Nurses
    • Honored with the International Association of Forensic Nurses Virginia Lynch Award
    • Served as president and member of the Forensic Nurse Certification Board
    • Served as a member of the International Journal of Forensic Nursing editorial board
    • Inducted as Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing

    Online MSN in Forensic Nursing Curriculum

    36 Credit Hours | 12 Courses

    Forensic nurses don’t only work in hospitals, clinics and emergency rooms. They also work as nurse coroners, expert witnesses and policy makers. Our curriculum reflects the opportunities available — preparing you to become a respected leader who can work collaboratively on a multi‑disciplinary forensic team.

    You can also choose to expand upon your MSN in Forensic Nursing by adding a concentration in Nursing Education or Transcultural Nursing to your coursework.

    Note: If you have previously earned master’s‑level nursing credits with a grade of “B” or higher, you may be able to transfer up to 9 credit hours and apply them toward your MSN at Duquesne.

    View MSN in Forensic Nursing Curriculum

    Online MSN in Forensic Nursing Admissions

    Admission Prerequisites

    To qualify for our online MSN program, you must:

    • Hold a BSN from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Have at least 1 year of full-time work experience as an RN (prior to registration in clinical or specialty courses)
    • Hold a current, unencumbered RN license
    • Complete an undergraduate-level statistics course

    Admission Process

    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Professional goal statement
    • Two electronically submitted references
    • Official transcript(s)

    Learn more about our forensic nursing MSN program.
    Get Program Details

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    Cleveland State University

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    Cleveland State University

    Master of Science in Nursing

    Masters of Science in Nursing – Forensic Nursing

    Forensics

    Forensic Nursing Science applies nursing science combined with forensic principles into legal matters, based on therapeutic jurisprudence. The focus of therapeutic jurisprudence is the achievement of individual and societal wellbeing through legal processes. The population focus of the Forensic Nursing Science is composed by those involved in healthcare legal issues. Forensic Nurse is a term that encompasses legal nurse consultants, death investigators, sexual assault nurse examiners, forensic psychiatric nurses, correctional nurses, and clinical forensic nurses.

    The American Nursing Association recognized Forensic Nursing as a specialty in 1995. The International Association of Forensic Nurses – IAFN is the organization that represents the Forensic Nursing Science specialty. Forensic nurses are impartial; they advocate for the truth and justice in a caring and compassionate way.

    The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Forensic Nursing Track provides general education on forensic nursing and law concepts. Graduates of the Cleveland State University Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Forensic Nursing Track may practice in one or more of the various forensic nursing sub-specialty areas (additional certification may be required), such as:

    Clinical Forensic Nurses (adult or pediatric) function as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). They have a role in cases such as interpersonal violence, abuse, and negligence. They provide nursing care and observation for victims and perpetrators of crimes throughout their hospital stay and collect evidence for possible legal procedures.

    Legal Nurse Consultants support their clients (lawyers) in the development of cases involving healthcare issues both in the civil and criminal areas. Legal nurse consultants may function as a testifying expert or as a consulting expert. They are qualified to analyze potential legal cases, such as negligence, injuries, illnesses, and product liability.

    Forensic Psychiatric Nurses function in legal cases involving mental health issues, as consultants or expert witnesses. They have a role in cases such as competence for healthcare decisions and guardianship. They provide care for inmates with mental health issues, care of patients in civil commitment, and their families.

    Forensic Correctional Nurses work in correctional facilities. They provide quality healthcare to inmates, recognizing their right to healthcare as a human right. Their work includes assessments of inmates treatment of acute and chronic illnesses and substance abuse, emergencies, case management, and health promotion.

    Forensic Nurse Death Investigators are representatives of the medical examiner or coroner’s office. They work collaboratively with the police and other authorities on the case. Forensic Nurse Death Investigators collect evidence from the body and the surrounding area. They testify in civil or criminal court cases.

     

    Admission Requirements

    Students applying to the program must hold a valid, active license as an RN in the United States, a baccalaureate degree in Nursing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and have completed an undergraduate or graduate-level statistics course.

    Application Instructions

    • Apply to the College of Graduate Studies ;  Priority consideration is given to applications received by March 15 for fall enrollment. After March 15, applications will be considered on a space-availability basis.
    • Submit official transcripts for all post-secondary education
    • Submit a 2-3 page essay identifying your population of interest; how to you plan to use your MSN degree to enhance your professional growth and development; and skills you hope to acquire during the program
    • Two (2) professional letters of recommendation
    • Resume

    All application materials must be submitted to:

    Cleveland State University
    Application Processing Center
    Office of University Registrar
    1836 Euclid Avenue, UN 443
    Cleveland, OH 44115


    Course Sequence and Degree Planner Information

    MSN Forensic Nursing Courses 

    MSN Forensic Nursing Degree Planner Thesis Track

    MSN Forensic Nursing Degree Planner Non-Thesis Track

     


    Professional/Career Information

    International Association of Forensic Nurses

    Former Dean, Vida Lock discusses Forensic Nursing on About.com

    School of Nursing >

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    Cleveland,
    OH
    44115-2214
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    Phone: (216) 687-3598
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