Legal Nurse Consultant Schools
Nurses with an interest for both emergency room trauma and courtroom drama may want to pursue a nursing degree in legal nurse consulting. Legal nurse consultants use their health care know-how in conjunction with an interest in the legal system to have a rewarding career in this combined profession.
Legal nurse consultants are commonly called by defense attorneys and prosecutors for their forensic or pharmacological familiarity to help determine difficult criminal or civil cases. More commonly, legal nurse consultants consult with attorneys and others in the legal field on medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation and other health-care-related cases. These legal specialists are responsible for interviewing clients, reviews medical records, researches and summarize medical literature, helps evaluate liabilities and damages, assists with depositions, prepares exhibits, and identifies and retains expert witnesses.
Registered nurses usually complete programs at legal nurse consultant schools before working with lawyers. These nurses have already worked in divisions such as intensive care, obstetrics, the emergency room, and other medical disciplines. All they require is training in legal ethics, toxic tort evaluation, personal injury cases, forensic science, legal writing, trial preparation (just to name a few) at legal nurse consultant schools. There are also courses at legal nurse consulting schools that familiarize students with medical malpractice in anesthesia, record tampering, low-back injuries, other automobile-related injuries, product liability, even malpractice in medical triage.
In order to practice as a legal nurse consultant, a registered nurse must graduate from one of many legal nurse consultant schools and receive the appropriate occupational certifications. A certification exam issued by the National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants can also be taken voluntarily to add to one’s credentials.
Certified legal nurse consultants are regularly contracted to work with private attorneys and corporate lawyers. However, many find work outside the courtroom. Some take positions with hospitals, insurance companies, and government agencies. Many are hired to help provide quality assurance at pharmaceutical firms and chemical companies. About half of all legal nurse consultants work on staff at law firms, insurance companies and other institutions, and their salaries are just about the same as those of hospital nursing administrators, who earn about $80,000, according to a 2004 Nursing Management salary survey. The other half of legal nurse consultants works independently and earns $100 to $150 an hour or more.
Employment for a registered nurse who’s completed a program at one of many legal nurse consultant colleges has a bright future. Typically, professionals with legal nurse consultant careers are contracted for work by private attorneys and corporate lawyers. Some can also find work outside the courtroom with positions at hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and government agencies. Their primary focus is to provide quality assurance.
With nursing, as a whole, considered to be one of the top 10 fastest growing professions in the United States, the same can be said of legal nurse consultants. Those who graduate from legal nurse consultant schools have nothing to worry about as jobs within this field are only expected to grow throughout the decade as a result of the litigious nature of today’s society, more and more organizations introducing medications and medical devices, and the growing pharmaceutical industry.
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