Legal nurse consultants are registered nurses with an exceptional level of expertise in the area of nursing. The field of nursing is filled with exciting opportunities to help those in need. The needs that patients have do not only include medical assistance but legal assistance as well.
Some legal nurses even choose to specialize in a specific area of nursing to increase their marketability in the growing field of nursing. All nurses play an intricate part in the medical field and legal nurse consultants are no different.
Legal Nurse Consultant Job Description
Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) provide their services to businesses, prosecutors, and attorneys. They offer medical consulting for civil and criminal cases based on their pharmacological and forensic expertise. Legal nurse consultants are viewed as liaisons between health care and legal professionals.
Legal nurse consultants help their clients by reviewing medical records to help lawyers decide if medical malpractice occurred, or if workers’ compensation should be issued. These nursed can offer their expert knowledge to attorneys in preparation for a deposition. For example, legal nurse consultants can prepare the attorneys for cases by assisting them with learning nursing or medical terminology for an upcoming court case.
Additional areas in which legal nurse consultants provide medical/legal expertise include toxic torts, personal injury, healthcare investigations, medical malpractice, product liability, and risk management.
Legal nurse consultants are in great demand due to their skills and expertise in nursing. They offer firsthand knowledge that businesses and attorneys need at a fraction of the cost that doctors charge for their expertise. These nurses are often used as expert witnesses during court cases.
It is possible to specialize in several areas to as a legal nurse consultant, including acute care nursing, geriatrics, or diabetes management. They choose a particular area of certification while working in hospitals and clinics as registered nurses before becoming experience legal nurse consultants.
Legal Nurse Consultant Certification
It is possible to earn a degree or diploma (while in nursing school) before receiving certification to become a legal nurse consultant. Educational paths consist of a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university, an associates degree from a community college, or a diploma from a qualifying hospital. While the bachelors degree is the most common option used to become a nurse, many choose to utilize alternative options, including the option to earn an accelerated degree online.
The licensing requirements vary by state, but all nursing school graduates must pass the national Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become registered nurses.
To receive the legal nurse consultant credentials, registered nurses must certify with one of the certifying bodies. The American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB) is one of the widely recognized groups that offer the legal nursing credential. To qualify as a legal nurse consultant, certified (LNCC) nurses must meet certain requirements, including accumulating a minimum of 2,000 hours of legal documented legal consulting work over 3 years and at least 5 years of experience as a registered nurse.
Legal Nurse Consultant Salary
Legal nurse consultants are in high demand, and because of this demand, they can earn very lucrative nursing salaries for their expert knowledge in nursing. These nurses can make hourly salaries of $70 to $250 per hours. Since many legal nurses provide these services on a part-time basis, they can increase their salaries with this supplemental income.
Some legal nurse consultants work full-time providing consulting services and make salaries that are comparable to registered nurses. The median annual salary range for certified legal nurse consultants is $67,000 to $80,000. The top states with high salaries for legal nurse consultants include California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, District of Columbia, Oregon, Nevada, and New York, respectively.
Legal Nurse Consultant Jobs Outlook
The nursing jobs outlook is extremely good for legal nurse consultants. As more practices and medication are reviewed by government agencies or in courtrooms, the need for the services of legal nurse consultants will continue to rise. Nearly half of legal nurse consultants work in insurance companies, hospitals, government agencies, and clinics, while the other half provide their services as independent consultants. Legal nurse consultants can even work for corporate and private lawyers.
The field of nursing is one of the fastest growing fields today. In addition, over one million licensed attorneys will need the assistance of legal nurse consultants to help with medical aspects of their cases.
Legal nurse consultants offer expert experience that businesses and attorneys need to win their cases. They have a great deal of independence that is not possible in many other careers. Legal nurse consultants can expect a steady flow of work for many years to come.