A lot of people think that after taking the required courses, the only thing stopping you from becoming a forensic nurse is the certification exam. Those who have taken it say that the exam itself is very challenging but did you know that you are not required to take it?
This is because you don’t need to have a license to work as a forensic nurse. The important thing is that you have your diploma. If you want to work in a specialized field, there are advanced classes you can take, which also means a higher position.
But why do some people still take it? This is because passing it adds credibility to what you do especially if you have to give testimony during a civil or criminal proceeding. The test consists of 5 parts namely dynamics of sexual assault, evaluation of the sexual assault patient, participation in the judicial process and professional practice/roles/issues.
If you don’t pass, the testing authorities will send you a breakdown of your scores in each of these categories so you will see where you didn’t perform very well. With this information, it will be easy for you to pass on the second try.
What you might find strange about the certification exam is that there is no passing or failing mark. You final grade depends on the scores of everyone who took the test. This means that there is a curve so if you scored 95 and more people scored lower, you are one of those who passed the exam with flying colors. However, if others did better, you could fail and that means taking the exam again.
On average, you have to get 75% of the questions correctly to be sure that you passed the exam so study hard.
But how do you review for the forensic nursing exam? You can enrol in a review program or do this by yourself. The important thing is to be able to answer almost any question they throw at you.
Passing the exam simply adds credibility to who you are. Since science has found new ways to help victims of violent crimes, you must keep up with the times by attending seminars and other courses whenever they are offered.
In fact, the American Nurses’ Association offers this and other benefits to its members. All you have to do is sign up.
Being a member, you become one of 2.9 million registered nurses working in its 54 constituent member associations.
The certification exam mentioned is only for those who want to become a sexual assault nurse examiner.
Given that forensic nursing is quite broad, you can explore other options. You could work as a specialist involved in tissue and organ donation, paediatrics, pathology, victimology or psychiatry.
Some forensic nurses shift from one field to another after working there for a few years so they don’t become stagnant in one specialty. All this experience could even land you a consultancy job later or even your own private practice.
The vast majority of forensic nurses today are involved in sexual assault. Should you take the certification exam? That is up to you but it wouldn’t hurt to be certified because it adds to your credibility when you are doing your share in bringing the suspect to justice.