Legal Nurse Consultant Career
Explore the exciting and coveted field of legal nurse consulting...
Legal Nurse Consultants are a rare breed of specialist. Besides their experience in the realm of medicine, these individuals spend much of their time consulting with members of the legal profession, providing a unique perspective on litigation in medical matters.
Become a Legal Nurse Consultant...
What is a legal nurse consultant?
Simply put, a legal nurse consultant is a registered nurse who has continued their education, padding their medical knowledge with an added dose of law. This study allows them to act as go-betweens in courtroom settings where malpractice suits, personal injury, and wrongful death, and other such cases are being evaluated from a physical standpoint. Their expertise in several facets of hospital and clinical operation make them uniquely suited to this task.
One of the best parts of becoming an LNC is the schedule. While many RN's find themselves working twelve hours at a stretch, legal nurse consultants generally work fewer hours on a less rigid schedule. It's a great way to work smarter, not harder.
When serving in a legal capacity, the main goal of an LNC is to help lawyers, judges, and jurors understand the medical information being presented both inside and away from the courtroom. They spend a great deal of their time assisting with research and other such matters, and may even interact with the witnesses in order to instruct them on the particulars of their case.
What type of training and certification is required?
There's only one thing a legal nurse consultant absolutely must do in order to enter the field – become an RN. So, in essence, all registered nurses are only a few steps away from upping their career leverage. But, according to the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC), added education often comes as a major benefit.
Toward this end, there are numerous programs which provide RN's with the tools they need to enter the legal world. These can be found at universities and colleges all across the nation, as well as through internet-based educational institutions. These often provide a certificate to their graduates, signifying their complete of the program.
But there is another level of qualification available. The AALNC also recognizes a test given by the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified Program (LNCC), which is a test given to determine an individual's mastery of the subject matter. By completing the LNCC test, graduates will take their employment options to an entirely higher plain.
Where do LNC's work?
There are a wide range of destinations for those who have obtained their certification as a Legal Nurse Consultant. Many LNC's spend their full time careers on the staff of a law firm, while others may decide to strike out on their own as a freelancer. This later option allows them to work for several different companies, which can sometimes create a bidding war for their services.
Other LNC's may decide to keep their positions in the medical world, while acting as a part time consultant or expert witness. There are even positions available within the insurance industry, or in the upper reaches of hospitals as a specialist in risk management.
Because of this versatility, today's Licensed Nurse Consultants can tailor their career to meet their specific needs. Another of the major draws is, of course, the pay. For the most part, LNC's bill their clients up to $100 or $150 for each hour of work, though they may give discounts to hospitals and other medical institutions. These are rates for independent contractors, who tend to draw higher hourly pay than do those with a concrete position. But at $80,000 per year, the average salary for a regularly employed LNC is far from inadequate. This last option also qualifies individuals for such benefits as vacations, paid holidays, 401k's, and health insurance.
To learn more about becoming a legal nurse consultant, you can contact schools that offer LNC certificate programs. If you have not decided if this is the right career choice for you, take some time to explore additional careers in health care.