Legal Nursing Consultants: What They Do and How to Become One

Healthcare Training Resource
June 3, 2014 — 1,809 views  
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A Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) is a registered nurse who has completed a Certified Legal Nurse Consulting Program. This nurse will have the ability to perform an analysis of healthcare issues, as well as, their related outcomes. They have the expertise to review and understand medical records, medical terminology and the subtleties in the health care system.

Some of the duties of a LNC include participation in client interviews, drafting and analyzing medical portions of legal documents, and they can identify, organize and analyze pertinent medical records. They can attend independent medical exams and serve as a nurse expert witness. Legal Nurse Consultants can bridge the gap in an attorney's knowledge of the healthcare system and its inner workings.

The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants spell out exactly what an attorney should consider when hiring a nurse consultant, which includes:

  • A Legal Nurse Consultant should have a solid background of clinical experience including interpretation of medical records, documents and medical–legal issues.
  • Cost-effectiveness is a consideration as the LNC should have the background and knowledge of healthcare standards in order to identify strengths and any weaknesses in a legal case.
  • A nurse consultant should be resourceful and possess a network of professional and medical resources, plus contacts.
  • A thorough understanding of medical issues and trends that relate to the total litigation process is essential. They should have the ability to customize the case for the attorney, the client and the jury.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, along with professionalism are essential qualities.
  • Involvement in national and local professional organizations, such as the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants and the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants show initiative.

There are Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate programs, approved by the American Bar Association, and they are specifically designed to prepare students to effectively perform in the legal and healthcare community. They will learn the skills through their education to evaluate, analyze, strategize, collaborate and conduct research in the legal field. Several colleges offer LNC programs on campus and online. Some of the typical courses include:

  • Introduction to Legal Nurse Consulting & LNCs in Risk Management
  • Case Analysis for Long Term Care and Medical Malpractice
  • Case Analysis for Personal Injury and Worker's Compensation
  • Causes of Action in Contract and Tort
  • LNC Role in Discovery: Trial Preparation and Forensic Nursing
  • Administrative Law
  • Legal Research
  • Business Principles

For a legal nurse consultant to receive board certification from the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants they must pass the certification examination. To qualify for the test an active RN license and 45 college credits from an accredited institution, which is consistent with the requirements of the American Bar Association, are required. In addition, proof of 6,000 hours of nursing practice, two confidential letters of reference, a two hundred word essay explaining the reasons for choosing this field and college transcripts must be submitted.

A legal nurse consultant with the Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate demonstrates knowledge, experience and the commitment to this nursing specialty.

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