Forensic Nursing in Iowa

Forensic Nursing Graduate Programs in Iowa

Victims of crime often have difficulty seeking the medical care they need. They may feel partially responsible for their victimization, embarrassed of their injuries, and unsure of how to begin the emotional healing process. Forensic nurses fill this important gap in healthcare. After earning a forensic nurse degree, you can assess injuries, collect physical evidence, provide emotional support to patients, and collaborate with criminal justice professionals for a swift and fair resolution.

Many groups work with forensic nurses in Iowa. The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault has found various benefits and their time working with forensic nurses, including shorter examination times, better forensic evidence collection, higher reporting rates, and improved prosecution (2016).

Is it time for the next step in your nursing career? Keep reading to learn how to become a forensic nurse in Iowa.

Master's Degree Programs in Forensic Nursing in Iowa

Qualifying for licensure as a forensic nurse is a several-step process that begins with education. First, you need a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. A handful of programs do accept Associate’s-level graduates, but these programs tend to be significantly longer, since they combined Bachelor’s and Master's degree coursework. Standard programs generally require between 30 and 40 credits of graduate coursework, which you may be able to complete in two years of full-time study. Clinical work is essential in forensic nursing schools, since you must have the ability to work calmly and appropriately with traumatized patients.

Your curriculum may vary, based on whether you study forensic nursing as a whole, legal nurse consulting, or sexual assault examination. In a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, you may focus on the following learning outcomes.

SANE Program Goals and Topics
• Understanding the psychology of offenders
• Scope of practice of SANEs
• Working with Sexual Assault Response Teams
• Working in a medical advocacy role
• Forensic examination and evidence collection
• Forensic photography
• Sex crimes investigation
• Victimization across the lifespan
• Injury assessment
• Special circumstances and their implications
• Iowa sexual assault laws

Upon completing your education, you may want to begin the certification process. The American College of Forensic Examiners Institute awards the title of Certified Forensic Nurse. The Commission for Forensic Nursing Certification oversees licensure of SANEs and Advanced Forensic Nurses. If you study nurse consulting, you may go through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.

The Role of Forensic Nurses in Iowa

Your role as a forensic nurse depends on where you live in Iowa. Many cities and counties run forensic nursing employment programs. This often involves working with a Sexual Assault Response Team. However, there are also private employment options to consider. Local employers like UnityPoint Health have sexual assault wards that are staffed around-the-clock. This level of dedication to victim support ensures that victims do not have to wait an extensive amount of time for an examination. A long wait time often means that patients must remain in the clothes in which they were victimized, which can cause further mental suffering.

In addition to helping victims of sexual assault, these programs and local hospitals provide support to abuse children, abuse elders, and domestic violence victims. If you would like to work with a specific population, ensure that your clinical work gets you experience with your chosen group. Your decision to work for the government or for a private agency may influence your forensic nurse salary. However, with federal and state funding programs, salaries tend to be fairly similar across this specialty.

Forensic nurses are a crucial part of Iowa healthcare. Victims should never have to be further traumatized by delayed or insensitive medical care. Find out how you can get involved in this specialty by requesting information on forensic nurse degrees in Iowa.

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