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Legal Nurse Consulting

Legal Nurse Consulting

Hollis Forster

I have noticed several inquiries about Legal Nurse Consulting on this website recently, and in an attempt to address these, have delved into the subject.

Legal Nurse Consulting seems an interesting way to expand your value, employability and expertise even without a Bachelor’s or other higher degree. It’s also a testimony to the fact that nursing can take you on career paths that are as varied as the nurses traveling them.

As an LNC, a nurse uses their medical knowledge as a member of the legal team. This can involve analyzing and interpreting the medical record, logically pricing together care that was given or actually acting as an expert witness. Sometimes the nurse might be asked to depose the expert witness in a case. This means that you would be asked to complete the initial questioning of the expert witness, before going to trial. Then, complete a report for the lawyers on the expert’s answers to questions. It could also involve prepping the expert witness before a deposition by the attorneys.

There seem to be many areas where this kind of medical expertise is needed, some of these include:

• Cases of product liability
• Workers compensation claims
• Medical malpractice
• Professional negligence

The Legal Nurse Consultant may be called on to research and prepare reports on issues related to a case, and to be able to interpret worker’s compensation and social security laws. They will need to be familiar with and able to research all laws that drive civil litigation.

There is a certification exam for the Legal Nurse Consultant. It is offered by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants and is given often in various cities of the U.S. Passing this exam gives you the initials of Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) to put after your name. The requirements to take the test are:

• An active RN license
• 2000 hours of experience as a legal nurse consultant

Most people who take the exam also participate in some kind of program or seminar to review the areas that may be needed to function effectively as a consultant. For instance they may find seminars that include work in analyzing the record, doing research, and a review of laws pertaining to the field. Some of the private programs that provide informational seminars in this area of consulting include courses in how to market your skills and build your business. The prices for these programs range from $1000 or less in some of the University based programs to upward of $4000 through some private seminars, so it would be beneficial to research the field before signing up for your classes.

The certification for this specialty is relatively new. In fact, it is not currently essential for practicing as a Legal Nurse Consultant. For many years, nurses have been consultants for attorneys without the benefit of the seminars, the courses at universities or the certification. They were just called by attorneys for their opinion and expertise. So this seems to be the place to start, get some experience, reach out to some of the programs available to increase your knowledge of local and Federal law and research techniques and then, if you would like extra “certification,” visit the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants web site to consider taking the exam.

This specialty or special path of nursing can be valuable in terms of financial gain, and can be valuable to those who need you. The client, who has been wronged by the system or not given the care she deserved, often needs medical expertise to tease out the issues hidden in her medical record. This is a great path for those in the nursing field that would like to take it on and it seems that currently, there is a lot of support for moving in this direction.

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