What Does a Domestic Violence Nurse Do?
Also known as violence nurses, violence prevention nurses, child abuse nurses and elder abuse nurses, these types of nursing professionals generally work with children, adults and the elderly to provide care, support and education concerning domestic violence. This position is considered a part of the relatively new field of forensic nursing, which links health care with the criminal justice system on behalf of the victims. These nurses must be incredibly compassionate, sensitive, supportive, and be a voice of advocacy for their victims and patients. Their utmost priorities are to keep them safe and care for their wounds physically, mentally and emotionally. Domestic violence nurses not only provide medical attention, they also keep detailed records and notes in the patients’ charts and document evidence which could be used at a later date for judicial proceedings. Their core duties include examining victims, assessing the extent of their injuries, thorough documentation, and providing victims with support and information regarding help centers and other resources.
How Can I Become a Domestic Violence Nurse?
The first step to working as a domestic violence nurse is to become a registered nurse. One can do this by earning a two year or four year nursing degree and passing the state licensing exam. It might be suggested that students in the nursing program take more forensic nursing courses during their studies if they are interested in that as a career. These could include criminology, criminal justice, evidence documentation, and evidence photography. Some domestic violence nurses choose to become trained as sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE). This is a more focused subset of domestic violence nursing and is one of the most common specializations. A voluntary certification in forensic nursing is available for those interested. This requires a person to hold a valid license as a registered nurse, have a minimum of three years experience as a registered nurse, successfully complete an education program in forensic nursing, be a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners International, provide supporting documents that demonstrate competency in the field and provide two professional references.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Domestic Violence Nurse?
Domestic violence nurses can work in a wide variety of places. The majority are employed in hospital emergency rooms and others in clinics and advocacy groups. The average hourly salary for a forensic nurse can range from $25 to $100 per hour. Because this field is still relatively new and growing the outlook for these positions are varied depending on the geographic location and hiring facilities. Many hospitals and clinics are beginning to embrace domestic violence nurses and are looking to expand their work force, while other have not yet caught on to the trend. Experts believe that this field will continue to grow in popularity because it fills an important gap between health care and criminal justice. Also, as long as there is the presence of domestic violence in this country, there will be a need for health care providers to aid the victims.