The Need for Nurse Experts
Elizabeth Rudolph, JD, MSN, RN
As the fields of nursing and medicine become more demanding, the number of medical and nursing malpractice lawsuits are on the rise. As a result, the need for nurse experts to help with these lawsuits is becoming equally more demanding.
In many states, medical malpractice cases require the use of expert witnesses. This includes nurse experts. Often called legal nurse consultants, these individuals play an important role in medical-legal cases.
Legal nurse consultants are usually brought in at the very beginning of a case to organize and review the medical records involved. He or she would also assess the records to determine if the patient was treated correctly. Or, the legal nurse consultant would show the attorney where the treatment was handled incorrectly. Nurses who specialize can be of particular assistance in cases related to their specialty. This information is vital to helping the attorney build the case.
Many legal nurse consultants choose to testify at depositions and trial, as well. In this case, the legal nurse consultant is called upon to share his or her opinions and observations about the case with all of the attorneys in the case and possibly a jury.
Choosing to be a legal nurse consultant is a decision that should be made after taking the time to research the requirements of the position and obtaining the necessary training.