Legal Nurse Consultant
Legal nurse consulting is a field of nursing which uses knowledge and experience gained by nurses for legal purposes. They have a strong knowledge base about the clinical aspects of nursing, health and disease processes. They bridge the gap between medical and legal entities in medical claims and cases. Lawyers hire legal nurse consultants to review medical charts and to acquaint them with medical terms and documentation styles for court cases. Legal nurse consultants are a part of a legal team, serving as educators, analysts, collaborators and strategists. They apply their healthcare, nursing and medical knowledge to their role and hold a standard of integrity in their practice. The legal nurse consultant career is still fairly new, having started in the 1980's.
A legal nurse consultant always knowledgeable about current scopes and standards of their profession. They do not practice law, they assist lawyers in resolving complex medical cases which require legal interventions. Lawyers hire legal nurse consultants for assistance with many types of legal issues such as malpractice cases, forensic/criminal cases and civil rights. They also assist with legal matters such as employment discrimination, risk management and regulatory compliance. A nurse legal consultant is a nurse who abides by state and federal and local laws. They are a valuable asset to lawyers because of their resourcefulness, experience and knowledge. Their services are also cost-effective.
Characteristic Qualities of a Legal Nurse Consultant
- An individual who never stops learning.
- Dedication to mastering a new skill.
- Top organizational skills.
- Confident managing financial data.
- Works well under pressure and meeting deadlines.
- Ability to work alone.
- Ability to prioritize.
- Ability to multitask.
- Good listening skills.
- Strong computer skills.
- Flexible and adapt to change.
- Risk takers.
- Ability to explain complex medical issues to people who have no medical background.
- Confidence in questioning assumptions of professional physicians and lawyers.
- Good research skills.
- Patient and persistent.
A legal nurse consultant doesn't have to hold an advanced degree, they just have to have an active nursing license in good standing. There are online courses which prepare nurses with an associate degree for this lucrative career and some college which offer a legal nurse consultant program in a traditional classroom setting.
- Vicky Milazzo Institute is an online program which offers a certified legal nurse consultant program. She started this program in 1982 and is the pioneer of legal nurse consulting. This course prepares nurses for certification through the National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants.
- LCN Stat offers an Advance Legal Nurse Consultant Program which started in 2005. It offers a modern way of teaching nurses to become legal nurse consultants. This program was developed by Veronica Castellana, a registered nurse who has been practicing legal nurse consulting for over 10 years. Her course provided legal nurse consultant with the tools they need to get cases.
- Capital University Law Schools offers a legal nurse consultant course on the first weekend of every month for 10 months. This university is accredited by the American Bar Association.
Job Description & Duties
Legal Nurse Consultant Job Descriptions
- May be hired to serve as a nurse expert witness.
- Lawyers trust their judgment to determine case strengths and weaknesses.
- They professionally evaluate cause and damages sustained.
- Present at client interviews and intervenes when necessary.
- Perform analysis of client medical records for attorneys.
- Present at independent medical exams.
- They organize pertinent data in chronological order and highlight areas of concern.
- Perform medical research and assists others in doing so.
- Help attorneys prepare for deposition
- Search for standards of care observed in medical documentation for malpractice cases
- Help to resolve ethical issues
Legal Nurse Consultants Practice at the Following Facilities
- Legal Firms
- Medical Insurance Companies
- Health Care Facilities
- Government Agencies
- Forensic Agencies
- Consulting Firms
- Independent Practices
- Legal departments of businesses and industries
Job Outlook and Salary
Legal nurse consultant careers have an excellent outlook, as they are always in demand. There are corporations such as law firms and insurance companies that higher legal nurses on a full or part-time basis, average full-time salary for legal nurse consultants is $63,000. Legal nurse consultants who work as independent contractors, work by the hour and can make as much as $150/hr. Independent legal nurse consultant set their own schedules and work as much or as little as they want.
References and Further Reading
- American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants
About the Author
Carrie has been a registered nurse for 14 years and works at a local hemodialysis outpatient center. She has experience in cardiac nursing, orthopedic rehabilitation and [...]