The job as a legal consultant nurse is one that is quite different than that of a typical registered nurse. A legal consultant nurse is more responsible for administrative work, and the job is often a consulting position. In the U.S., a legal consultant nurse must be very knowledgeable in all areas of medicine, nursing, and the law.
Educational Requirements for Legal Consultant Nursing
A legal consultant nurse typically holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree that take four years to complete. It is important that the legal nurse be experienced and an RN. This type of career is perfect for someone who enjoys investigating things, as it also allows nurses to expand from traditional nursing practice to knowledge and expertise counseling. Once this degree is obtained, the graduate must take and pass the NCLEX-RN test.
It is essential that a legal consultant nurse have knowledge of medical terminology, legal jargon, and policies and procedures. He or she must be able to read and understand patient medical records, detailed law documents, and other materials associated with both medical practice and the legal system. A legal nurse consulting course is available through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC).
Legal Consultant Nurse Certification
There are different certification options offered in the area of legal nurse consulting. All certifications require that an individual be a registered nurse. The American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB) offers a certification examination. If you meet eligibility requirements and pass the test, you are awarded the credential of Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC). This requires the RN to have a minimum of five years of RN practice, and active license, and evidence of 2,000 hours of legal consultant nursing work during the past five years.
Legal Consultant Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
Many insurance companies, attorneys, healthcare facilities, government agencies, and private consultants employ legal consultant nurses. In this profession, you may also work for a defense attorney or even a prosecutor. Many nurses in this career field happen to find jobs with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and state bureaus of investigation.
According to many web sources, the average salary for a legal consultant nurse ranges from $42,000 to $115,000 per year. This pay depends on years of experience, education, degree level, location of practice, and knowledge in the industry.
Job Duties of the Legal Nurse Consultant
Legal nursing consultants offer many services to insurance companies, families of lost loved ones, attorneys, medical malpractice victims, and more. Members who have a claim against a hospital staff member for neglect or abuse would speak with a legal consultant nurse. There is a responsibility to also advise healthcare professionals on medical related legal cases.
Some of the job duties involved in legal consultant nursing includes:
- Speaking with expert witnesses
- Testifying in court cases
- Researching cases and details of all claims made
- Examining and evaluating a patient’s medical records
- Educating lawyers and others about medical issues
AALNC (2013): http://www.aalnc.org/
ALNCC (2013): http://www.aalnc.org/page/LNCC/?