Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) are experienced registered nurses who understand how the law applies in healthcare settings. These specialized nurses use their medical experience to advise attorneys, clinics, insurance companies, and patients on issues at the nexus of healthcare and law. There are many legal issues that deal with medical information. Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) act as a go-between for the medical and legal worlds. Legal nurse consultants work for clients that need an expert to help them understand a medical issue, in a legal context. There are many schools that offer specialized training for nurses who are interested in this unique career.
What Should I Know About Legal Nurse Consultants?
LNCs may act as independent consultants or they may be employed in healthcare or legal settings such as law firms, businesses, consulting firms, and government agencies. They work to evaluate legal issues in healthcare, such as deciding liability or negligence in particular medical cases. They read medical records and healthcare literature and discuss cases with other legal and medical experts. Many work for themselves and consult for a variety of clients. For example, an LNC might help an insurance company determine if a particular claim is medically valid. Or, an LNC might help a law firm establish that medical negligence had caused their client's injury.
When working on a case, legal nurse consultants write up their findings after doing research and bringing their own medical opinion to weigh in on particular evidence. They may consult with witnesses or attorneys, and many function as expert witnesses in court rooms. They also work with other healthcare practitioners, such as doctors and nurses, to help them see the legal issues present in their own practices.
How Can I Become a Legal Nurse Consultant?
Most legal nurse consultants have years of nursing experience. If you are not currently a registered nurse, the first step is to earn your nursing license. You can become a nurse by earning a nursing associate or bachelor's degree. During these degrees, students study health sciences and nursing methods. Students also complete hands-on training in a local hospital or clinic. After completing a training program, you must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before you can earn a nursing license. The next step is to gain some experience on the job. Legal nurse consultants have a range of nursing experience. Some possible work environments include emergency, obstetrics, surgical, intensive care, gerontology, or pediatric nursing.