Meet Amanda, a Forensic Nurse Examiner. Every month we highlight the careers of women forensic professionals with the purpose of inspiring individuals who want to pursue a career in forensics. Read her interview below!
What is your profession?
I am a Forensic Nurse Examiner for Adults and Adolescents from 13 years-old and older. We are also called SAFE Nurses which stands for Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner. You may also hear that some nurses in our profession have the SANE title. This means the nurse meets certain requirements and has been certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner through the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Our job is to provide consistency for rape and sexual assault examinations for victims. We perform physical and psychological assessment, crisis intervention, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and prevention of pregnancy. We also serve as expert witnesses to court systems.
What inspiration did you have to enter your profession?
I’ve always been a true crime buff thanks to my mother’s influence. We always watch Court TV together and share true crime books. I also love Law and Order SVU. I knew when I graduated nursing school that I would pursue Forensic nursing once I gained enough experience. I love that you get to help people in a different way and you also get to learn about the law. My preceptor Laura Clary encouraged me to take the course and apply for a position.
What classes do you need take in high-school and/or college to prepare for your profession?
I took the traditional nursing courses and earned my Associate of Science in Nursing and then my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Then I took a course through GBMC to get certified as a Forensic Nurse. It required 40 hours of classroom time, 40 hours of clinical and 3 cases with a preceptor. In general SAFE programs like nurses to have 2 years of acute care experience. I had about 3 years of Medical Surgical Nursing under my belt when I started. BSN requirements vary among programs. We have both Associates degree and Bachelor degree nurses with a variety of acute care backgrounds.
Did you have a mentor?
I consider all of the nurses on our team mentors, but one person in particular encouraged me to pursue this career path. Her name is Laura Clary and she is a FNE-A/P, SANE-A. She is wonderful and truly passionate about this field. Linda Kelly RN, FNE-A, SANE-A is our Program Manager and she is an inspiration. She does a lot of community outreach with local colleges and is the heart of the program at GBMC. I feel so lucky to work with all of these women.
Is there anything you want to tell the readers of AWIFS (words of encouragement, challenges, hobbies, special interests, etc.)?
If you have an itch for Forensics, go for it! Even though it is a very specialized area of nursing, it is truly rewarding. The service we provide is so important to the community so you will definitely make a difference. Be prepared to be on-call. Most of us work full-time in another specialty and work as SAFE nurses part-time. You have to be flexible, dependable, and have a wonderful bedside manner. Sexual Assault victims have very specialized needs and you have to be able to deal with witnessing patients in times of crisis. It can be very emotional, but victims need someone to make this horrible experience as smooth as possible for them.
Thank you for sharing Amanda!
If you’re a woman in forensic science and you want to be featured in our blog series, “Women in Forensics”, email us at email@example.com. We will share your blog post with our followers on twitter and facebook. You can share your publicized blog link with your colleagues, family and friends. Our goal is to INSPIRE women and girls who want to pursue a career in forensics. So don’t be shy, show us what you’re working with!