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The International Association of Forensic Nurses is a membership organization that encompasses forensic nurses from around the globe, as well as others who are in the field or who have an interest in this type of work. The main goal of the IAFN is to provide leadership and a solid foundation for the practice of forensic nursing. The IAFN is one of the best organizations dedicated to this area of nursing and it has a number of benefits for those forensic nurses that join. Before getting into the benefits though, it’s a good idea to develop more of an understanding of what a forensic nurse is and what a nurse does. The job is quite a bit different from that of a forensic psychologist.

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What is a Forensic Nurse?

Forensic nurses train in traditional nursing and specialize in forensics, including evidence collection, legal testimony, criminal procedures, and other areas. The nurse is very important to many investigations that need to have qualified forensic medical support and evidence collection, such as in the cases involving sexual assaults. The evidence and information that the forensics nurse gathers could be vital to the outcome of the case. Forensic nurses will often work in emergency room settings which can be a very hectic, demanding job. Only the best and brightest nurses, and those who have a true sense of justice, are going to do well in this field.

As you can see, the job of the forensic nurse is far different from that of the forensic psychologist; however, they do have some common goals. Both want to see justice and both strive to serve the criminal justice system and their patients.

How Does Membership Benefit a Forensic Nurse?

Those who join the IAFN will have connections to many different specialists that practice in the field, and it will be possible to find information when they need it, including finding other areas of employment. Joining will also give them access to the online publications that the IAFN puts out including The Journal of Forensic Nursing, On the Edge, which is a quarterly newsletter, and the members-only monthly update. In addition, members of the IAFN will receive discounts on certification, exams and renewals, and publications. The IAFN has a number of great online resources as well.

What about the Forensic Psychologist?

As a forensic psychologist, you aren’t going to be doing the same daily duties of a forensic nurse, but you can be sure that there is going to be some overlap in your jobs. Nurses need to be compassionate and understanding, yet they still need to have a scientific perspective. This is true of psychologists as well. Affiliating oneself with the group will give you some much needed insight into the world of forensic nursing which can help you to understand your own job better.

The IAFN has several different membership types, including memberships that are for those who aren’t RNs. As a forensic psychologist, you could join as an associate member. Many who are in other areas of the criminal justice system, such as social workers, law enforcement, and researchers, do this.

Please visit for more information about the International Association of Forensic Nurses.


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