Forensic Nursing Online Courses
Here is a sampling of the courses offered as part of an online program in forensic nursing:
- Introduction to Forensic Nursing: This online course provides students with an introduction to the field of forensic nursing. Students learn about the forensic health sciences, as well as the role played by the nurse in forensic investigations.
- Forensic Evidence Collection and Preservation: An online course in forensic evidence will teach you how to work with forensic evidence encountered in the field. You will learn how to recognize injuries, collect evidence, and ensure its proper preservation, up to and including the moment of its use.
- Criminal Law: Designed to familiarize forensic nurses with the legal system, this online course explores how forensic nurses interact with all aspects of the legal system. Additional coursework will cover cyber-crime, forensic science theory and law theory.
Online Forensic Nursing Schools
Below is a partial list of schools that offer online courses in forensic nursing as part of a certificate or degree program.
- University of California - Riverside's Forensic Nursing Certificate: UCR's distance learning branch, called the UCR Extension, offers a certificate program in forensic nursing. Courses in this postgraduate program are divided into specialty areas of forensic nursing, such as crime scene and death investigation, correctional nursing, sexual assault examination and psychiatric nursing. Students complete assignments and quizzes online, and discussion boards and chat sessions allow them to communicate with their forensic nursing instructors and classmates.
- Fitchburg State College's Master of Science in Forensic Nursing: This master's program is intended for students who have completed a bachelor's degree program in nursing. In addition to online courses, forensic nursing students arrange with clinics in their area to complete a total of 420 hours of practical experience. The program is designed to assist graduates in gaining the skills necessary for advanced careers in the field, such as consultant, expert witness and investigator for state medical examiner's offices.
- Penn State Online's Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing Forensics: This 12-credit hour certificate program consists of four courses. It can be taken alone or as part of Penn State Online's RN-to-BSN program for nurses who do not yet have a bachelor's degree. Participants take an introductory course in forensic nursing along with courses in the impact of violence on society and forensic evidence collection. A forensic nursing seminar addresses current research and topics in the field, such as public policy issues, media-related events and regulations. Career planning and professional responsibilities are also covered.
- Duquesne University's Online MSN in Forensic Nursing degree: The MSN in Forensic Nursing degree is a 36-39 credit program consisting of core nursing courses and forensic nursing specialty courses. Forensic courses cover such areas as advanced practice; roles and competencies in forensic nursing; legal, medical and ethical issues; theoretical and scientific principles; advanced legal processes; evidence collection methods; and assessment tools. The program requires a 150-hour practicum under the direction of a forensic nursing mentor and completion of a formal written case study.
Forensic nurses normally work with police officers and detectives to preserve and collect evidence at crime scenes. They also provide medical assistance to victims of violence, as well as aid death investigators and others in the legal community.
Online programs in forensic nursing tend to be offered at the certificate and master's degree levels. Most programs require applicants to be licensed register nurses (RNs), and many require a bachelor's degree in nursing.
Forensic nursing distance learning programs typically use a mix of live and asynchronous delivery, the latter meaning students aren't required to be on their computers at a specific time. Live classes tend to be instructor-led and delivered via streaming audio and video or interactive discussion boards, requiring students to be at their PCs at prearranged times. Students typically are able to complete much of their coursework online; however, some programs require hands-on clinical experience as well.
Students looking to become forensic nurses are afforded the flexibility of online learning through a number of programs. These programs include courses in criminal law, forensic nursing, and evidence collection procedures designed to prepare you for work in the field.