Tips for a Career as a Legal Nurse Consultant
Tips for a Career as a Legal Nurse Consultant
Growing up watching the courtroom dramas of Raymond Burr’s Perry Mason, a successful television series spanning 1957-1966 helped instill in me a lifelong interest in the legal system. Set to iconic 1960’s-era the show featured a fictional LA criminal attorney and his stylish secretary, Della Street. Together, with Private Investigator Paul Drake, countless murder mysteries were solved – all within the span of 60 minutes!
Today the legal process may include the skills of the legal nurse consultant. According to the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC), these registered nurses “bring specialized healthcare education and clinical experience to the medically related issues of the litigation process.” Building on the basic nursing education and substantial clinical experience, this specialty has a range of professional activities, such as:
- Educating attorneys about medical facts related to a case
- Preparing a synopsis of medical literature
- Evaluating medical care based on accepted standards of practice
- Reviewing medical records, creating chronological accounts of events
Becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC)
If you are curious in a career in the legal profession, perhaps you need to do a little more investigation. One introductory resource is the
AALNC’s Getting Started in Legal Nurse Consulting. Packed with 34 pages of information, this free download introduces nurses to the field. The booklet covers the role, responsibilities, nursing educational requirements, licensing, and certification. When the specialty was emerging, nurses just received informal, on-the-job training. The process has now matured, with many formal educational offerings and certification opportunities. If you choose to proceed, determine where you choose to practice – investigating your state’s Nurse Practice Act for specifics. LNC programs abound; listed are some of the many available options. Evaluate each for reputation, costs, profit/nonprofit status and pros/cons. Certification is not required to practice as a LNC.
American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants Founded in 1989, the AALNC furnishes information, guidance, and its Legal Nurse Consulting Online Course. Providing an interactive experience, students may purchase the modules in a package or individually. The organization’s Certification Board offers the “only legal nurse consultant exam accredited by the American Board or Nursing Specialties;” a practice exam is also available for purchase.
Established Universities In the Southeast alone, certificate options range from the traditional classroom format certificate program offered by Duke University to the online format from the University of Central Florida. The latter program offers 71 CE credits, but completion of the program does not confer the certification status. The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) first requires at least 2000 hours experience working in the capacity of a Legal Nurse Consultant and a RN license before qualifying to take their 4-hour certification exam.
Center for Legal Studies offers the same content in 2 separate formats. Although the same textbook is used for each, the Center presents the content via a 5 module online course or a traditional classroom course. Founded in 1980, the Center is a legal education company based in Colorado, focused on “providing students with the most affordable and effective legal education possible.”
Vickie Milazzo Institute Combining the knowledge of her nursing and legal backgrounds, Vickie Milazzo founded the Institute in 1982, as she “pioneered the field of legal nurse consulting.” Offering a free Intro course, the Institute sells the ‘Success System’ in three levels (VIP, Executive, Basic), with optional features of either online or seminar format classes, sample business contracts and case reports, mentoring, and the trademarked CLNC® certification exam, and NACLNC® Association membership.
The American College of Legal Nurse Consulting For those who desire certification status in legal nurse consulting as conferred by the American College of Legal Nurse Consulting, online continuing education (CE) courses are offered. Students have up to two years to complete the required 4 courses, totaling 165 hours of instruction. An approved CE by the State Boards of Nursing in Florida and the District of Columbia, additional states will accept these CE credits via reciprocity; clarify details with your state’s Board of Nursing.
With the complexities of healthcare, this specialty will likely expand. As with any life decision, ask for assistance. Seek out the counsel of others established in the field- doing ‘due diligence.’ Be your own Private Investigator…as you consider a career as a legal nurse consultant.
* Article supplied by Sam Omulligan: A writer and educator interested in finding and sharing information relating to the healthcare profession. Primarily working with and for nurses who have an interest in better education, and developing a more substantial career.
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