Are there any books that I can read to help me decide if a forensic nursing degree is right for me?
If you are trying to decide on whether or not you should pursue an on-campus or online forensic nursing degree, then you should consider reading fiction and nonfiction books on the topic.
A true crime book that may interest those considering forensic nursing colleges is Forensic Nurse: The New Role of the Nurse in Law Enforcement by Serita Stevens. In it, the author chronicles several real-life cases where nurses have worked with the police to solve crimes. The author, a registered nurse and mystery writer herself, emphasizes the importance of this emerging profession in solving crimes and helping victims.
If you are interested in all types of forensic science, Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection by Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer documents instances where different forensic sciences, including forensic medicine, were used to solve crimes and lock up criminals.
For a firsthand look at what forensic nurses do in the field, you should read Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner by Michael M. Baden. The book is written by a forensic pathologist who has worked with police in New York City for over 25 years.
What are some online resources that will give me ideas about how to use a degree in forensic nursing?
The first site that students interested in earning their forensic nursing degree online or on campus should bookmark is the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) website. Run by forensic nursing professionals, the site features information on forensic nursing as a career, how to become a registered nurse and get certified as a forensic nurse, and its own career center, which will give you a good idea of what kinds of jobs are available for graduates of top forensic nursing degree programs.
Another online resource is the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Technical Assistance website. Because sexual assault crimes are some of the most frequent types of cases that forensic nurses confront, it is important to be familiar with the procedures and protocols involved.
If you want to get a more personal perspective from someone actually working in the field, you should read Forensics Talk. Written by a practicing forensics nurse, this blog features frequent posts about how forensic nursing is used in current cases in the media, so you can get a good sense of what kind of work you will do once you have earned your on-campus or online forensic nursing degree.
What organizations accredit on-campus and online forensic nursing degree programs?
The best forensic nursing degree programs are run by schools accredited by 1 of the 2 organizations that accredit nursing programs. The first is the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), which is a subsidiary of the National League for Nursing (NLN) and is responsible for all activities related to the accreditation of nursing programs within the NLN. The NLNAC accredits both online and on-campus nursing and forensic nursing degrees, including diploma, associates, bachelors, masters and certificate programs.
The second accrediting organization is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which accredits bachelors and masters programs. The CCNE is an autonomous nursing education accrediting agency that has been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. It was established in 1996 by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
While there is no accreditation body specifically for forensic nursing degrees, most programs that offer a forensic nursing degree online or on campus should be based on standards established by the IAFN.
Is a degree in forensic nursing recession proof?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the entire field of nursing is expected to grow by 26% over the next decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations, and the BLS projects that over 700,000 new registered nurse jobs will be created. Within the entire field of nursing, forensic nursing is still a relatively new discipline, but it is growing in demand every year.
In addition, the entire health care industry is projected to expand due to an aging population and increasing demand. If you also consider rising crime rates in times of economic hardships such as the current recession, it is safe to assume that nurses with accredited forensic nursing degrees will be in high demand in the coming years.
As long as your forensic nursing degree is from an accredited institution, there is little difference between the career outlook for graduates of online programs as compared to traditional university programs, provided you are certified.