A legal nurse consultant uses the knowledge gained from practicing in the health care field, the knowledge gained from a legal studies or paralegal degree, and provides assistance to a variety of professionals in law firms, government offices, insurance companies, etc.
A legal nurse consultant has training as a registered nurse, and through educational and experiential background, provides an important service related to analyzing healthcare facts, issues, and outcomes for those in the legal and healthcare professions. In fact, legal nurse consultants are considered liaisons between the legal and healthcare communities, and advise on such areas a personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice, toxic torts, and even criminal law.
Overview including skills and education: Duties of a legal nurse consultant are incredibly varied, depending on the location and their clients. duties include working with lawyers to plan health-care litigation, educating attorneys and paralegals about healthcare issues, researching professional literature in healthcare and nursing as it relates to ongoing legal cases, working with expert witnesses, and drafting legal documents in medical cases under the guidance of a supervising attorney.
Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies (BSLS): Fully prepares graduate for a career as a Legal Nurse Consultant with foundational knowledge of the US legal system, basic US Constitutional provisions, terminology and theoretical concepts of the US legal system, and legal-specific research and writing skills.
Associate of Science in Legal Assisting/Paralegal (ASLAP/AASLAP); Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies (ASPS); Associate in Science in Legal Studies (ASLS): Provides basic, foundational information and skills for entry level position.
Diploma/Certificate in Legal Assisting/Paralegal (DLAP) (CLAP): Appropriate as a stepping stone to further education or as an enhancement to the working knowledge of an experienced Legal Nurse Consultant.
In addition to formal education, legal nurse consultants must have a variety of skills. They must have significant medical knowledge, be able to pay close attention to detail, and know how to review information critically. For example, they may be asked to review medical records frequently to assist with cases. The ability to read, research, and report information relevant to the case is necessary for success.
The job outlook for legal nurse consultants is excellent, as more and more legal cases related to medications and medical practices make their way through courtrooms and in front of government agencies. In addition, the Bar Association reports that 25% of attorneys in the United States take on cases related to medical malpractice and personal injury. The need, therefore, for knowledgeable legal nurse consultants is expected to be high.
Job Outlook: Excellent.