Forensic Nursing Graduate Programs in Illinois
Consistent growth in the field of nursing has demonstrated the value that nurses bring to society as a whole. Forensic nursing is a clear example of this phenomenon. In the past, criminal justice professionals and nurses were on opposing sides when working with victims of crime. Nurses focused on patient care, a move that often destroyed or compromised physical evidence. Criminal justice professionals were interested exclusively in the collection of evidence, which often made victims feel ignored and further traumatized. Forensic nurses bring together the best of each side by providing needed patient care while following strict evidence collection standards.
Illinois recently received a grant of $4 million to expand their hiring of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (Chicagoist, 2016). This grant may help victims get prompt care.
If you want to make a difference in this field, the first step is learning how to become a forensic nurse. Keep reading for more detailed information on this career path and get in touch with Illinois forensic nursing programs to get started.
Master's Degree Programs in Forensic Nursing in Illinois
As a Bachelor’s-level registered nurse, you should already have a thorough understanding of health care procedures, patient communication, and collaboration. However, you need specialized education to work with traumatized patients, gather evidence in an appropriate manner, and collaborate with those outside the healthcare field. While working with patients, forensic nurses may look for signs of crime and work with criminal justice professionals to collect the necessary evidence.
Master's degree programs in forensic nursing cover advanced patient care theory and patient communication, but they also explore forensic science and Illinois law.
Examples of Forensic Nursing in Illinois Courses
• Survey and Foundations of Forensic Science
• Forensic Analysis of Biological Evidence
• Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence Analysis
• Physical Pattern Evidence Analysis
• Forensic Drug Analysis
• Expert Witness Testimony
Throughout this time, you must maintain your registered nursing licensure in Illinois. Clinical experience is absolutely required at this level of study. If you attend an online program, you may need to work with them to find an approved clinical site in your community.
After you graduate, you may pursue several types of certification. Some require work experience, so you may need to work as a forensic nurse before becoming certified. Certified Forensic Nurses are certified by the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. If you plan on becoming a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner or Advanced Forensic Nurse, your next stop is the Commission for Forensic Nursing Certification. If you complete a legal nurse certification program, you may obtain certification via the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.
The Role of Forensic Nurses in Illinois
With a forensic nursing degree, you should be ready to contribute to a fairer and more effective criminal justice process for victims. Illinois is fully on board with this effort. This state has the Illinois Attorney General Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. This program, funded by a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, provides ongoing training. They hope to improve the quality of evidence collection and have a positive impact on prosecution rates of offenders. However, you may also work for private facilities and nonprofit organizations.
Forensic nursing is a way to expand your healthcare abilities and meet the needs of a group that is often overlooked. If you’re ready to jump in, use the list of forensic nursing schools below to contact schools that interest you.