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FBI Nursing Careers

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation goes through periods of massive hiring. In 2009, for example, nurses were in big demand, when the agency filled 2,100 staff positions and 850 special agent spots. Nurses in the FBI work as field agents to help solve crimes and take care of crime victims. As agents, they can play a role in undercover work or help investigate crimes in medical facilities.

Basic Requirements for FBI Consideration

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Before even applying for an FBI position, you must meet certain basic qualifications. You must be a United States citizen and you can’t have any felony convictions or be in default on a student loan. Failing a drug test gets you disqualified, too. Men who don’t register with the Selective Service are automatically disqualified. You must take a polygraph test and undergo an extensive background check, which includes interviews with friends and family members. To become a special agent, you must be between the ages of 23 and 36.5, hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and have at least three years of professional experience in your field.

Forensic Nursing to Help Solve Crimes

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In the FBI, forensic nurses primarily work with victims of sexual assault, collect evidence from crime scenes, and work with medical examiners to solve murders. When the FBI is investigating a crime, for example, as part of a critical response team, you take blood and fluid samples from victims and collect evidence at a scene, such as a bullet or bloodstained clothing. You may accompany investigators in crimes involving child or elder abuse, fatal traumas or domestic violence, where investigators rely on you to collect and store physical evidence, provide cursory medical assistance to victims, and identify physical evidence.

Special Agent Training

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As a new agent in the field working as a forensic nurse, you go through training at Quantico, Virginia, with all the other new recruits. You learn how to use FBI-issued firearms. After about 20 weeks at the camp, you understand FBI reporting procedures, legal aspects of your new job, ethics and interrogation techniques. Physical training plays a vital role, so you must pass a standard physical examination.

Staff Nursing Less Dangerous

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Nursing home investigations, allegations of abuse in medical facilities, and potentially violent workplaces often require further proof before the FBI can move in and make arrests. Once you become an agent, you use your nursing background in situations that require that expertise. Candice DeLong, a nurse who worked for the FBI and wrote a book called "Special Agent," used her credentials as a psychiatric nurse to enter potentially dangerous situations as a visiting nurse; she helped to rescue a child, capture a terrorist, and apprehend a killer. She even participated in the hunt for the Unibomber in 1996.


Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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