Legal Nurse Consultant Career Overview
The prime responsibility of legal nurse consultants is to assist lawyers by offering insight into a variety of medical issues including medical administrative practices. Legal nurse consultants review and analyze medical records and assist in cases involving medical malpractice, personal injury, insurance fraud, workers' compensation, or wrongful death. After becoming a registered nurse through an online program, you can easily continue your pursuit of a career as a legal nurse consultant online. The table below shows a brief career overview including required skills, projected job growth, and salary.
|Required Skills||Knowledge of medical-legal terminology, problem-solving skills, knowledge of medical tools, close attention to detail, clinical skills|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||12% (for registered nurses)|
|Median Salary (2019)**||$75,813 per year|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ** Payscale.com
Steps to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant Online
If you wish to pursue a career as a legal nurse consultant, you need to become a registered nurse and gain experience in nursing. Several of the recommended steps to becoming a legal nurse consultant can be completed mostly online; however, gaining clinical nursing experience must be done in person. Below are the steps that can guide you in becoming an LNC.
Step 1: Earn an Online Diploma or Degree in Nursing
Three types of online nursing programs are typically available for aspiring nurses: a diploma from an approved nursing program, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which is a two-year nursing degree offered through community colleges, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which is a four-year program offered by many universities.
Some of the common courses provided by nursing education programs include:
- Human Anatomy
- Human Physiology
Step 2: Obtain a Nursing License
After completing the requirements for graduation from nursing, those aspiring to become a legal nurse consultant should obtain licensing through their state to become a registered nurse. Nurses can get a license by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). Test-takers need to appear at their respective test centers for completing the exam. All states have different requirements for RNs, so online research may be done to learn the requirements of particular states to become a registered nurse. Various providers, including professional organizations, offer online study materials to prepare for the NCLEX.
Step 3: Gain Experience in Nursing
Nurses applying for a legal nurse consultant certificate education program should have experience in nursing practice. For example, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) prefers applicants to have a minimum of 5 years experience as registered nurses to pursue the LNC specialization course. Most newly licensed registered nurses start in hospitals as staff nurses. However, registered nurses can also work at physicians' offices, nursing care facilities, home healthcare services, or government agencies.
In order to apply for certification through the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB), applicants must show 2,000 hours of recent experience in legal nurse consulting. To learn more online about the legal nurse consultant program, visit the AALNC website.
Step 4: Complete an Optional LNC Certificate Program
To become an LNC, aspiring candidates can complete online legal nurse consultant certificate programs or training courses offered by numerous colleges and professional organizations. Usually, these programs accept only registered nurses; students need experience in nursing to understand the course materials. The duration of these programs varies depending upon the school's program and the pace at which students pursue the learning modules.
During the legal nurse training program, students learn legal theory and law fundamentals, the roles of LNCs, as well as performance standards. They also learn how to analyze personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation, and other cases. Programs typically include business classes, as well, through which students learn how to develop business plans, market their skills, and track billable hours.
Step 5: Acquire Optional Certification
Certification is not an obligatory requirement for working as a legal nurse consultant, but having certification shows experience and expertise. The applicants applying through ALNCCB for certification are required to pass an exam and to prove that they have completed the minimum hours of LNC services during the past five years. Exam topics might include medical malpractice, personal injury, risk management, and elder law. The exam is computer based but must be completed in an assigned testing center. Study materials for the certification test are available online.