Nurses in this field analyze medical records, evaluate health and patient care issues, assess relevant risk or risk management measures, and perform legal research. Although formal education isn't required for legal nurse consultants, nurses can benefit from a certificate program that provides in-depth training on the legal system's complexities. They can enroll in certificate or diploma programs in legal nurse consulting or even just enroll in a few classes to get a better understanding of how to work as nurse liaisons in the legal field.
Admission requirements for a legal nurse consulting certificate program can vary from a diploma to some amount of college coursework to a college degree. A valid RN license is universally required. Although all programs require a minimum amount of clinical nursing experience, the threshold varies from program to program. Online programs may be available to accommodate busy schedules.
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Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
Certificate programs in legal nurse consulting train registered nurses to understand the U.S. legal system and litigation processes. Training programs may be offered through traditional classroom, online or flexible scheduling options. Some programs are American Bar Association-approved. Completion of a certificate program also could count toward a nurse's professional continuing education credits.
Students gain an understanding of the legal system while acquiring specialized research skills related to the application of law to the healthcare industry. They might gain practical training through a mentoring program. Curricula typically include classes in:
- Contracts and torts
- Ethical standards in healthcare and the law
- Risk management
- Medical malpractice law
- Legal research and writing methods
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Legal nurse consulting is a specialty within the nursing field, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't collect data specifically on legal nurse consultants. However, the BLS predicted a faster-than-average 16% job growth rate for RNs from 2014-2024. BLS data from May 2015 stated that RNs earned a mean annual salary of $71,000.
A key requirement for legal nurse consultants is having a current RN license, which is acquired by completing an approved nursing diploma or degree program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, also known as the NCLEX-RN. Additional requirements may be set according to each state.
Legal nurse consultants also can obtain voluntary certification from the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (www.aalnc.org). To sit for the exam, eligible applicants must have a valid RN license, at least five years of nursing experience and a minimum of 2,000 hours of qualified legal nurse consulting experience within the past three years. The certification must be renewed every five years.
Nurses wishing to become legal nurse consultants are not required to become certified, but certification can provide extra knowledge for those wishing to pursue this aspect of nursing. All nurses must have an RN license to pursue certification.