Legal Nurse Consultant
During the 1970s, a revolution in the legal world birthed a workforce of legal assistants and paralegals. Today another revolution is brewing as legal nurse consultants emerge just like the paralegals did three decades ago. While nurses have been advising attorneys for decades, it was only in late 70’s that these nurses started to be officially named legal nurse consultants.
Today, the importance of legal nurse consultants is escalating as attorneys are beginning to see the benefits of working with people with a medical background. Although they may have opted to work with doctors in the past, legal nurse consultants are seen to be more cost effective now.
A legal nurse consultant is an RN who functions at the intersection of medicine and law, working on cases involving medical issues such as a malpractice lawsuits or auto accidents. These are just common examples but in some cases legal nurse consultants are also required to work on cases relating to death, child abuse, or domestic relations.
Legal nurse consultants can earn quite hefty salaries. A 2004 survey by Nursing Management revealed that legal nurse consultants working for law firms and insurance companies earn as high as hospital nursing administrators, around the $80,000 range. Meanwhile, freelance legal nurse consultants may charge between $100 and $150 an hour.
If you have the clinical experience and you are a registered nurse, then you would already be qualified for this role. Indeed, the primary prerequisites for a legal nurse consultant are just those two criteria. Formal training is not even required, but would no doubt make your resume more impressive if you were to have some training.
Depending on your choice of a school for formal training in a legal nurse consultant program, the requirements will vary between schools. Typically, good schools require candidates to have undergone 3,000 to 4,000 hours of clinical experience in intensive care, operating room, and emergency room settings. This works out to about one and one-half to two years of full-time practical work. Other requirements include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
The tough part comes after receiving your certification. Legal nurse consultants need to build their client network as they work with attorneys most of the time. With this, networking is essential to market yourself and your skills. Naturally, the first initial cases would be the hardest to acquire, but once you’ve built your reputation within the industry, things should go your way soon enough.
Interested in becoming a legal nurse consultant? Consider the Legal Nurse Consulting Certificate from Kaplan University.