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Forensic Nursing

Professional Certificate in Forensic Nursing

Professional Certificate in Forensic Nursing

Online Program


9-15 months



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Forensic nursing, like traditional nursing, is divided into several specialty areas such as the sexual assault nurse examiner, crime scene and death investigator, the correctional nurse, and psychiatric nurse. Nurses who have an interest in the forensic aspects of healthcare provide necessary services for the victims of violence. Furthermore, law enforcement and the legal community are now realizing the positive impact forensic nursing is having on case outcomes. The ability to recognize forensic issues and to preserve, document and collect evidence are essential skills of today’s healthcare professional.

This comprehensive online program is designed to introduce nurses, emergency medical personnel, victim advocates and others to the forensic aspects of healthcare and public service. Trauma, acts of violence, mass casualty incidents, sexual assault and human abuse are explored as they relate to evidence collection and preservation, documentation and follow-up procedures as performed by healthcare providers. The individual courses are structured to provide both core content and an introduction to several sub-specialties within the discipline including death investigation, correctional nursing, forensic psychiatry, forensic photography and clinical forensic nursing.

Designed For

  • Registered nurses
  • LVNs/LPNs
  • Other licensed medical professionals

What You'll Learn

  • How to collect forensic evidence
  • How to communicate with the various members of the multidisciplinary forensic team
  • Treatment for triage and emergency intervention for patients who exhibit potential forensic issues
  • Basic policies and procedures required for conducting sexual assault examinations
  • The social and political implications of escalating violence

What You Can Do With This Certificate

Positions are available in a variety of venues including, but not limited to, a hospital, clinic, coroner's office, law enforcement office, law firm, correctional institution, or mental health office/facility. They might include:

  • Forensic Nurse
  • Forensic Nurse Investigator

Program Overview


14 Units


2 Units

Real People. Real Results.

“As a single mom, I am so thankful for the flexibility that UCR Extension offered while completing the Forensic Nursing Professional Certificate program. I was able to complete my tests and assignments at a time that was convenient for me, all the while being challenged daily by the knowledgeable experts in the forensic field.”

Laura Suess

Valley Children's Hospital of Central California
Madera, CA

Earning the Certificate

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

  • Registered nurse
  • Licensed vocational nurse or equivalent
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician
  • Physician's assistant
  • SANE certified nurse
  • Licensed paramedic

ELECTIVE UNITS: Current SANE certification may be acceptable in lieu of university/college-level credit. A copy of your certification will be required. Please contact the Extension program coordinator for additional details.

UCR Extension is an accredited provider of California Board of Registered Nursing credit.

All courses provide California Board of Registered Nursing continuing education credit.

Registered Nurse continuing education totaling 20 hours or more may be acceptable in lieu of university/college level credit. These hours may be a combination of professional meetings, SANE training and other workshops where continuing education was earned.

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 Forensic Science in Healthcare Settings


3 units

Forensic Approaches to Blunt Force and Firearm Injuries

BMSC X465.1

2 units

Quarter 2

Crime Scene Preservation and Death Investigation in Health Care Settings

BMSC X465.2

1 unit

Forensic Approaches to Mental Health and Domestic Violence

BMSC X465.52

1 unit

Quarter 3

Occupational Considerations in Forensic Nursing

BMSC X465.4

2 units

Forensic Photography in the Healthcare Setting

BMSC X465.6

1 unit

Quarter 4

Forensic Approaches to Human Abuse Injuries

BMSC X465.3

2 units

Sworn Testimony for the Healthcare Specialist

BMSC X465.12

2 units

Instructor Spotlight

“UCR Extension was the first in the U.S. to launch an online Sexual Assault Examiner course (SANE). Whether or not one intends to practice as a forensic nurse, the education UCR Extension offers medical professionals is invaluable and will add another dimension to one's objectivity, professionalism, and assessment skills.”

Cari L. Caruso

RN, SANE-A, Owner & CEO
Forensic Nurse Professionals
Pasadena, CA

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