Online Courses for Forensic Nurse Examiners
The following summaries describe the typical curriculum of online courses for forensic nurse examiners.
- Basic Concepts in Forensic Nursing Course: This course introduces forensic nursing as a branch of nursing where practitioners routinely participate in legal and court proceedings. It teaches how to maintain and collect evidence while assessing physical conditions, providing emergency treatment and assisting at autopsies. The class also details the roles and responsibilities of various investigative and judicial personnel.
- Psychology for Forensic Nurse Examiners Course: This class prepares students to assess the psychological needs and mental states of victims, suspected perpetrators and the families of both. It provides methods to analyze the social and cultural manifestations of violence, understand individual and community response patterns and recognize suicide risks. It also introduces psychological profiling. In addition, topics address the mental and physical needs of sexual abuse victims and survivors of fatal disasters.
- Emergency Care for Trauma, Wounds and Poisoning Course: Individuals learn to identify, treat, report and testify on criminal and non-criminal emergency medical situations, such as stabbings, bites, burns, blunt force trauma, gunshots and poisoning. Students discover how to recognize symptoms of child, spousal and elder abuse. They also manage biological evidence, document events and protect privacy before the police are called, during the investigation and in court.
- Emergency Treatment Course: Topics in this class specify emergency treatment protocols for the injured and wounded at accident and disaster sites. Individual lectures cover the nurse examiner's role as an advocate and impartial observer. Lectures teach techniques to protect both victim and perpetrator privacy while giving aid.
- Evidence and Court Procedures Course: Students practice collecting evidence, maintaining chain of custody, determining relevance of material and interpreting evidence for investigations and legal proceedings. They learn to recognize and apply constitutional rights and guarantees to both victims and suspects. Students also review previously taped testimony to identify omissions, errors and discrepancies.
- Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents Course: This course provides students with knowledge needed to examine questionable documents. Emphasis is on the various types of document examination, legal procedures as well as the appropriate collection and care of evidence. The Forensic Examination of Questioned Documents course does not, however, certify the student in document analysis.
- Justice System and Victimization Course: Because forensic nurses often work with and testify for crime victims, it can be helpful to take this course, which discusses the physical, psychological and economic aspects of being a victim of crime. Students examine and evaluate the way that victims are treated in the U.S. justice system today.
- Law, Justice and Family Course: This course provides an overview of the role of family in the legal system, as well as the rights of different family members. The academic experience can be particularly relevant for forensic nurses who work with victims of spousal or child abuse.
Certificate and undergraduate degree programs that offer online forensic nurse examiner courses include those in forensic nursing, clinical nursing, forensic science and guided care nursing. For students who already possess degrees relevant to the medical industry, online forensic nurse examiner classes can be found in a few master's programs, such as nursing or forensic nursing.
Those with a science-based undergraduate degree and no medical background could gain advanced studies in the field through a master's-level program in forensic toxicology. Registered and advanced practice nurses could use online forensic nurse examiner classes as requisite training toward the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) certifications offered through the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Schools that offer online coursework geared toward these certifications may require some on-campus or clinical attendance.
Forensic nurse examiners can take relevant online courses that cover both the scientific and legal aspects of criminal investigation, evidence analysis, patient care and the judicial system. They may be able to use their training towards meeting certification requirements.