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Nurse Death Investigation

Professional Certificate in Nurse Death Investigation

Professional Certificate in Nurse Death Investigation

Online Program


18 months



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Learn to identify the who, what, where, when and how. Acquire the knowhow for collecting and preserving evidence, documenting and photographing a scene, and properly conducting an autopsy through this fully online program. The amalgamation of compassion, dedication, attention to detail and critical thinking are what make an outstanding nurse death investigator. Now's the time to make your move.

Designed For

Intended participants include:

  • Registered nurses
  • LVNs
  • Other licensed nurse professionals

All courses provide California Board of Registered Nursing continuing education credit. UCR Extension is an accredited provider.

What You'll Learn

  • Roles and responsibilities of a nurse death investigator
  • Best methods for collecting evidence, documenting a scene, and photographing and preserving evidence
  • Procedures for identifying and confirming the decedent's identity
  • Changes that occur to the body following death and the stages that follow
  • Process and procedure of an autopsy

What You Can Do With This Certificate

Positions are available in a variety of venues including, but not limited to, coroner's office or medical examiner's office. They might include:

  • Forensic Nurse Death Investigator
  • Medicolegal Death Investigator
  • Deputy Coroner
  • Forensic Nurse
  • Coroner

Program Overview


16 Units

Real People. Real Results.

“In the midst of a career and personal transition, I realized that a traditional graduate program would not be feasible. Through UCR Extension, I was able to obtain my professional certificate. It was convenient, affordable, and expedient. Thanks to UCR Extension, I am prepared for a successful career in forensics!”

Tierra Williams

RN & Clinician II
Children's National Health System/Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Washington D.C.

Earning the Certificate

Prior to enrolling, please ensure that you meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Registered nurse
  • Licensed vocational nurse or equivalent

Online Tutorial

To help prepare you for completing a course in our online learning environment, check out our FAQs.

For more information see How to Earn a Certificate

Certificate Courses

Our certificate programs are designed to be flexible, allowing you the option to take just a few courses or to earn the complete certificate. If choosing to complete the certificate, we recommend you get the most out of your experience by following the suggested completion path below.

Quarter 1

Introduction to Nurse Death Investigation


1 unit

Forensic Approaches to Blunt Force and Firearm Injuries

BMSC X465.1

2 units

Quarter 2

Introduction to Forensic Pathology for Health Care Specialists

BMSC X465.9

2 units

Death Investigation Evidence Collection and Documentation


2 units

Quarter 3

Death Investigation I: Natural, Accidental and Undetermined Deaths


3 units

Death Investigation: Homicides and Suicides


3 units

Quarter 4

Death Investigation: SUID/Child and Infant Deaths


3 units

Instructor Spotlight

“My interest in forensic nursing began in the Emergency Room--meeting and managing the needs of victims of violence. Soon, I advanced my education in both clinical forensic and death investigation, and now have almost 20 years of experience in this challenging and ever-changing field. I love teaching forensics and doing in-depth training for law enforcement, nurses and first responders.”

Kristine Karcher

Chief Deputy Medical Examiner
Coos County

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